Anthea Iva

The Director of Redstone Marketing asks three
nonprofit executives for their perspectives.

PAIGE GIBBS Chief Development Officer, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research

Five years ago, the donor pool at the Perkins was more like a puddle. Donations had plateaued, we had no plans for acquisition and retention consisted of sending the next appeal, which looked just like the last one. 

We had a handful of regular givers and we had an antiquated database that did not support recurring gifts… any of this sound familiar? 

Donor CPR was desperately needed – STAT!

The board backed a modest investment plan. We commenced work on our first foray into acquisition. It was cold, it was mail and it was a disaster. Nothing felt right from the creative to the data lists to the ask. 

If there’s anything you learn from being around researchers, it’s to fail fast. So, it was back to the drawing board. To get new donors, we needed to go where most of them were gathering – Facebook. In-house, we created a two-step product that did not play on fear but promoted the positive message of prevention. 

Enter, the Perkins Habit Tracker. The Habit Tracker is a 12-month program focused on improving the donor’s health one habit at a time. Over 12 months they tackle 12 habits, and set their sights on a healthier, happier life. Participants also receive handy tips and hints during the year, to keep them motivated and informed of our work. It was and still is a great success. 

It has been in market for two years now and we continue to be surprised by how well it is still performing. We have recently introduced a second sister product into market called Know Your Normal. It’s a workbook packed full of expert tips from Perkins researchers, designed to help people understand their bodies, and the changes that can take place. It too is going remarkably well. 

In two years, we have gone from 9 RGs to over 1,000 new donors with a CPA hovering around the $300 mark. 

GREGORY POTENT Foundation Manager, St Vincent’s Foundation Queensland

St Vincent’s Foundation Queensland’s goal is to assist St Vincent’s Health Australia’s private hospitals and care services in Queensland to continue delivering personalised care and compassion to patients and residents as we have for 100 years. Recruiting new donors is an important part in realising our goals.

I have always found that recruiting new donors comes down to three factors we have all heard before. The key is how well do we action them?

1. Let those who have had a positive experience with your cause know how they can support you. You will have a pool of potential supporters who have received support from your cause. It could even be their family and friends who have seen your cause in action. These ambassadors may want to reach out and give back so others can have that same experience. It is important you let them know there is a way to do so. A brochure or a card to read at their convenience can explain.

2. The ability to donate in an easy way, at an individual’s convenience. You need to have multiple ways in which people can give. Options should include online, phone, or post. With ongoing changes in technology, you need to constantly look for new ways for donations to be made.

3. Your existing donors help deliver new donors. Your existing donors are your greatest asset. Thank them so they feel good about giving. Keep them informed with how donors like them have made a difference. An unexpected phone call. Hand deliver a receipt or newsletter. Surprisingly, simple things can expand your support. We give hand-crocheted hearts to our special donors. Something genuine and memorable makes them feel proud and they will tell their circle of influence. 

ELIZABETH HERD Fundraising Manager, Community & Individual Giving, Butterfly Foundation

Butterfly Foundation’s donor networks are our lifeblood. We know that without their generous gifts we would not exist today to support people in Australia impacted by eating disorders and negative body image.

Traditionally, Butterfly has acquired new donors through two income streams. Firstly, our major annual fundraising campaigns (mid-year and Christmas), which are promoted through social media and include a pledge or petition call to action (CTA). And secondly, through the support of our amazing community fundraisers via peer-to-peer fundraising platforms. Peer-to-peer fundraising has been a great source of donor acquisition for us, leveraging our donors’ existing networks to reach a pool of supporters that may not have otherwise been accessible. It’s also a cost-effective means of acquiring donors, with supporters fundraising on our behalf essentially becoming an extension of our team.

As the need for Butterfly’s services has grown over the years so too has the need for increased funding. To increase our fundraising revenue, we recognised that we had to significantly change our approach by introducing new revenue streams and broadening our donor base with the acquisition of new donors both private and corporate.

After much research and advice from experts in the industry, we decided to invest in a two-step regular giving acquisition program. Being specialists in the area, we engaged Donor Republic’s services to help manage this important campaign that is currently being developed.

Regular giving is an easy, convenient, and manageable way for individuals to contribute to Butterfly’s work and feel like they are making an impact. We are confident that once our regular giving program is underway, it will offer a consistent income stream, providing the steadiness and certainty we need to plan for the future and ensure the sustainability of Butterfly.