It’s no secret that nonprofit organizations are finding fundraising more challenging in a post pandemic, and recession-leery economy. This is especially true for Rescue Missions. Most Rescue Missions depended on the revenue generated by direct mail, and in fact, have historically been able to budget a 5-8% increase in that revenue year over year. It’s not news to say those days are over, and now Rescue Missions and similar organizations are searching for ways to add additional revenue.
To compensate, most direct mail firms are offering mid and major-donor programs: segmenting a database, identifying prospects, designing special appeal packages, and mailing them out. The appeal design may be different, and the package size may change, but the primary content of the ask is the same. It is often transactional, emotionally based, focuses on outputs, and asks the recipient to make a charitable gift. Not surprisingly, the response to these “special” appeals is mixed.
For years as a Rescue Mission CEO I struggled with this, realizing that I was not effectively engaging the high-net-worth prospects in my database. It was like we weren’t speaking the same language. Come to find out, we weren’t!
I talked about how many individuals I served; they wanted to know how I impacted my community. We weren’t speaking the same language, and I was frustrated. I was talking about outputs, how many meals, how many nights of shelter, etc., while they were thinking of outcomes, value propositions, and true impact. High capacity prospects didn’t want to make a gift; they wanted to make a meaningful investment.
I met Convergent Nonprofit Solutions when I was searching for a firm to manage a capital campaign. From the first meeting, I knew the Convergent approach was different. Shifting the paradigm to present my organization as an investable community asset, the focus of Convergent’s Investment Driven Model™ would be on our outcomes – how we impacted our city – not just our activities. I understood Convergent would not be looking for donors – but would bring my organization investors. The more we spoke, the more I realized – this is precisely what I was missing. Finally, I understood “the language.”
I’ve since moved to the other side of the desk. As a Senior Project Director with Convergent for the last two years, I’ve spoken with hundreds of prospects and have raised millions of dollars. With each conversation I’ve had, the thought continues to surface – this is precisely what’s missing in Rescue Mission fundraising. Direct marketing is absolutely necessary for a comprehensive fundraising program, but it can’t stand alone. The most cost-effective funding strategy is to engage the high-net-worth prospects already in your database.
Contact us today to learn more about how Convergent can help build a culture of transformational investment for your Rescue Mission.