Updated: Oct 3
CONSERVATIVE FUNDRAISERS ARE IN MULTIPLE STORMS
September 19, 2023
Are you involved in grassroots fundraising for a conservative nonprofit?
Are you receiving fewer donations than expected and is your income off significantly?
Are you seeing the cost of postal mail increase 25%+ in the last few years?
If this describes you, you’re not alone.
Every conservative organization I’m aware of (dozens and dozens) are experiencing reduced income in 2022-2023 from postal donors of $200 or less with fewer donors and much higher costs.
Most of these storms are not temporary. We’re not dealing with a speed bump. The major cost increases in postal mail is permanent – and actually will get worse soon.
In my recent blog posts, I have mentioned ways to get you safely through storms and allow you and your nonprofit organization to grow and prosper.
The names of the “storms” I’m referring to are:
INFLATION FOR DONORS—major cost increases for food, fuel, transportation, rent, etc. is causing people to donate less.
INFLATION FOR POSTAL MAIL—costs for printing, postage, lettershop, lists, etc. have increased 25-30%.
SKY-HIGH GAS PRICES.
RECESSION—anxiety caused by a possible recession is causing donors to feel they need to spend less and save more, including financially well-off people. Many donors are holding onto their cash.
Ships and airplanes regularly go through storms. Most all come out on the other side in good shape because they were prepared and had a skilled and professional team. Of course, while you’re in the storm it can be very unpleasant, even frightening.
However, now and then a ship or plane doesn’t get through the storm, usually because of a mistake by a person, e.g., a lack of professionalism.
I listed gas prices separately from inflation, even though obviously gas prices are a big part of inflation. People see and experience gas prices so dramatically, I felt it needed to have its own category. It’s hard to drive more than a few blocks without seeing signs for $3.50-$3.75+ gas. A stop at the gas station can easily cost you $55+.
For donors, a trip to the grocery store is another separate financial hit. For direct marketers inflation has hit us hard, including significant postage increases, with more scheduled in the next few years, as well as 25-30% price increases for printing, envelopes, lettershop, lists, etc. But few donors have increased their donations 25-30%. We’re certain to have continued significant price increases.
Also, the number of donors on most conservative lists that are available to rent or exchange has shrunk by more than 50% from 20 years ago.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is, as I’ve previously written, ships and planes that are professionally operated get through storms, including really bad ones.
No commercial airline in the world is allowed to take off until the pilots have gone through a mandatory checklist, as well as conducted a walk around the outside of the plane even if it’s raining or 20 degrees below zero. Then the pilots go through another checklist after takeoff and during descent, as well as a checklist as they approach landing.
Here’s a partial checklist we use for American Target Advertising’s 20+ clients:
Remember the 80-20 rule. 20% of your donors will produce 80% of your income.
If you’re in a list co-op, have your housefile enhanced to identify your best donors.
If you’re not in a list co-op, consider joining one.
Use a list co-op to enhance your best prospect mail.
Use pre-recorded phone messages to push or chase your housefiles.
Use email to push or chase your housefiles.
If you do not have a monthly giving program, start one.
Make sure the subject of your current fundraising program is prominently covered on your website.
Use pubnotes to emphasize the importance of your project.
Avoid cuss letters. “Liberals are doing bad things, send me money.”
Asking money for a specific project will usually out-perform a fundraising program without a specific project.
A monthly newsletter is important to help BRAND your organization.
Be sure to paint a vision of how things will be much better if your organization has strong financial support.
If you don’t have a fully functioning development department, build one quickly.
Don’t forget to say, “thank you” and say it often, and thank them for the specific project they donated to.
If you are experiencing serious marketing/fundraising problems, usually it’s because of a weak or non-existent BRAND. Remember a BRAND is not a famous or well-known name. a BRAND is when you dominate, occupy, own a category, a hole in the marketplace.
My checklist is not difficult or complicated. A direct mail professional can easily implement it—it just takes additional time.
However, the additional time can be the difference between a 3-year near death experience or growing your organization and contributing to winning the Spiritual Civil War we’re fighting.
As always, your thoughts, advice, and recommendations are not only appreciated and welcomed, but helpful and needed. Please email them to email@example.com.
This free post is brought to you by American Target Advertising™ (ATA) and American Mailing List Corporation™—“ConservativeListsRUs.” ATA was the world’s first conservative direct marketing agency and still is the largest with over 85 team members (increasing to 135 by 2024) that will mail over 300,000,000 postal letters in the 2023-2024 election cycle for 40+ clients who will receive over 7,000,000 donations from over 2,500,000 unique donors.
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