Be one of the first ten people to answer this question correctly to be entered in the drawing for this month’s prize, the Allen Brothers Candy Bar Cheesecake!
Question: What nonprofit did Heritage conduct its first B2B campaign?
As readers of THA know, Heritage is celebrating our 50th year of operations this year! While we have celebrated the work we have helped our charity partners to achieve over the last 5 decades, we have also reflected on how far we have come in that time. Begun by a single mother (with a lot of business sense), Heritage conducted our first outbound B2B nonprofit campaign for the Miss Arkansas Pageant over 40 years ago. That campaign used black rotary-dialed phones and stacks of phonebooks—how far we have come, and how we look forward to serving America’s greatest charities for the next 50 years!
Susan Stegeman, the Law Enforcement Torch Run Coordinator for Special Olympics Missouri, was recently inducted in the Richard LaMunyon Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Hall of Fame at the 2007 International Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference in Oklahoma City. Susan has been with SOMO for 17 years, and currently serves as Chief Development Officer. LETR revenues have grown from $15,000 to $1.1 million during her time with SOMO, and the run has consistently been in the top 10 internationally. Congratulations, Susan!
Target Analysis Group, a Boston nonprofit consultant, recently conducted a study of nonprofit fundraising. The findings concerning direct mail efforts were discouraging: the number of people making gifts declined by 1.4% from 2006, and new donors declined by 6.2%. The good news was that the average gift amount grew by 3.9%. The solution to this dilemma? According to Target’s senior fundraising analyst, Carol Rhine, “I do not think direct mail is dying, but it is changing…[Donors] get the information in the mail, but they buy over the phone or online. Direct mail has to change so it can accommodate that trend.”
The IRS recently revised the Form 990, the main tax filing form for most nonprofits. The extended form is quite lengthy, detailed, and time-consuming. However, there is a shorter (990EZ) form available for nonprofits with revenues between $25,000-1,000,000 in annual revenues and less than $2.5 million in assets. Nonprofits in this category can use the shorter form for the 2008 tax year, but the threshold is lowered over the next two years.
Congressman Henry Waxman (D, CA) recently convened the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to interrogate a nonprofit and its third-party fundraisers regarding how the organization spent the money it raised. The charity involved in the hearing supports hospitalized veterans, and has been under scrutiny for media reports of inappropriate expenses. Waxman suggested that all charities should be required to disclose in their direct mail efforts the percentage of the funds raised that is spent on programs. (The constitutionality of such a requirement is highly suspect, but the possibility is something to be avoided, nonetheless.—ed.) No bills have been dropped to this extent, but THA will follow the issue closely.
After 15 states considered do-not-mail bills in 2007, the American Teleservices Association (ATA) and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) have collaborated to plan a strategy to address this threat to all direct marketing, including nonprofit fundraising. The primary approach is to make the case that the direct marketing channel must be protected for all users, commercial and nonprofit. Further, the convincing case must be made that the issue is a federal one, not for states to address. No bills have been proposed yet this year, but in an election year, we are being vigilant.
Have you ever wanted to ask one of the presidential candidates what they planned to do to help nonprofits? The Nonprofit Primary Project in New Hampshire did just that, sending nonprofit leaders to follow candidates to multiple speaking events and town-hall settings. Their persistence paid off, as they were able to pose questions to three candidates—Senators Hillary Clinton (D, NY) and Barack Obama (D, IL) and Governor Mike Huckabee (R, AR). Such opportunities disappear when the campaigns make their mass appeals in larger settings, but the early states like New Hampshire and Iowa open the door for such a unique opportunity.
According to a recent DMA survey of nonprofits, direct marketing use is on the rise, with 6.8% annual growth. While the humanitarian needs take precedence, there are significant economic reasons why the growth of the nonprofit sector is important: the ROI for $1 spent by nonprofits is an eye-popping $14.47. Now THAT is a return on investment!
Nonprofit fundraising research, as well as our five decades of experience, teaches us that as points of contact a nonprofit has with a donor increase, so do donor affinity and support. What are those touch points? In Heritage campaigns, they include outbound calls, inbound calls, websites, emails, and fulfillment pieces, as well as other tools. By keeping consistency in all of these touch points—and by treating the donor with respect and appreciation in all of them—the likelihood of repeat gifts and larger gifts rises. We never forget that our charity partners’ most valuable asset is their donors, and we give them this support and service at every opportunity.