Are you a non-profit leader who sees the writing on the wall that maybe your membership program has hit a plateau? If so, you’re not alone!

Here’s an example of what this might feel like. The membership program or giving society that your organization has relied on and been so successful for decades is waning. It might still bring in significant funds, but the growth you used to see is no longer occurring and it seems harder than ever to get donors to join. But if you’re holding onto this strategy in the hope that better benefits or snazzier giving level names will reenergize those donors, you’re simply rearranging deck furniture on a ship that is sinking.

These programs may be a useful channel to get donors in the door, but once they’re in, giving continues to be treated like a transaction. To spend that amount of time and resources to get donors to the door and then not invite them into a partnership is a travesty.

Do you really believe your donor’s heart and passion is moved by getting a t-shirt (or any other token featuring your organization’s logo)? Do you think they give so they can tell people they’re in the top giving level of your organization? They may think the gifts and swag are fun, but what donors really want is to be a part of solving a problem that breaks their hearts. By thinking of your membership program or society as your number one method for fundraising, your organization is missing out on opportunities to go deeper with your donors.

Donors have a story behind their passion for your mission, and that is what motivates their giving – not a membership benefit.

They want to be treated as partners, not an ATM. They want feel seen and heard as individuals who care about solving the issue your organization addresses. That means you tell them the truth about the challenges of your work, that you’re transparent about what is working and what’s not, and you’re honest in your communication. And when they give, you consistently and creatively share the outcomes of what their gift accomplished.

I have the privilege of working with many courageous and brilliant non-profit leaders. They may be the only one in their organization who is willing to the speak truth that what their organization has been doing for years will not sustain them into the future. How do they start to make changes toward a more relationship-focused approach?

One of the best tools for anyone leading an organizational change is to have the data to back it up. Data speaks truth loudly in a way others cannot argue with. This is something we’ve seen over and over when we share the results of our free donor file assessment.

Based on our analysis of millions of anonymous donor giving records, we can confidently project your organization’s growth if you continue with your current strategy. And we can also show you a projection of the growth that’s possible if you adopt a relational approach to your fundraising programs.

Our assessment tells you just how much revenue you are losing over time because donors are being treated transactionally. We have seen many organizations with a donor value attrition of 40-70%! That means if you take a group of donors who gave $1MM four years ago, today the same group of donors is only giving $300,000-$600,000! It is heartbreaking. Why are organizations typically not aware of this? Because money from new donors covers this up the loss of existing donors who give less or leave altogether because they’re not being treated as partners.

If you’re looking to make a change that will breathe new life into your fundraising program, I encourage you to start with our donor file assessment. Your results will include:

  • An overview of the health of your donor pipeline, specifically looking at your major and mid-level donor groups.
  • Analysis of your value and donor attrition rates, showing where and how often donors are leaving unnoticed because new money is covering up the attrition. You’ll see:
    • Year-over-year donor and value attrition.
    • Period value attrition.
    • Period donor attrition.
  • A review of your donor pipeline, identifying “clogs” where donors are not moving up.
  • Trends in giving where donors are giving the same year-over-year gifts, even though they have tremendous capacity.
  • A five-year revenue projection based on our findings showing the current trend versus what your donors are capable of when they receive increased relationship-building and management.
  • A Return-on-Investment projection, showing staffing, personnel costs, and return in fulfilling the five-year revenue projection.
  • A solid plan for moving forward to ensure your organization is set up for success.

We are confident that if you implement The Veritus Way, which is a system and structure along with communication and relationship building tools, we can predict the increase in your growth in five years. Why are we so confident? Because we have worked alongside organizations for over a decade and seen it happen over and over again.

One organization that used to have a 42% donor value attrition implemented The Veritus Way and brought that number down to 22%, which represented millions in revenue that would have been lost based on how things were trending. That means that the organization is no longer just bringing donors to the door but inviting them in as partners.

So, if you are a leader feeling like no one else is seeing what you are seeing, you aren’t alone. Know that there are many leaders out there who see it too. And others in your organization might be seeing the writing on the wall, but it’s scary and they don’t know what to do. They don’t know that there is a clear step-by-step path to creating true partnerships with donors. We are here to say there is a path, and we have traveled it many times with organizations like yours.

You know that if your organization is going to survive and thrive into the future, you must move from a transactional mindset to a transformational fundraising program.

Will you lead the way for your organization to begin inviting donors in as true partners in your mission?

Get started today by requesting your free Donor File Assessment.* And be sure to check out all our other free resources to support and encourage you on the journey!

*Note that for the assessment to be statistically beneficial, you need to have at least 500 donors giving at least $1,000 in at least one of the last four years.