Sustainer. It’s the buzz word in nonprofit fundraising for the past few years. And there’s good reason for it — sustainer programs are one of the most valuable segments within a fundraising program because of the compound effect of the gifts.
A data breach at your nonprofit would be devastating to your donor relationships and ability to fundraise. When donors see that their gifts are handled responsibly — with speed, accuracy and security — it builds their confidence in your organization. To successfully retain them, you must be able to assure and demonstrate to donors, first and foremost, that their data is safe.
When nonprofits think about how outsourcing can help their donation processing, they probably have some standard advantages in mind. In a typical outsourced solution, the benefits are mostly tactical; the donation processor receives the mail, puts money in the bank, captures data, delivers it to the client, and then starts all over again, always serving as the last link of the chain. This kind of solution supports the core competencies of caging and data capture, but it’s missing a strategic element.
At Merkle Response Management Group, we know trust is the top factor in client and donor relationships. When a donor gives to a nonprofit, they’re entrusting that organization with their money and personal information. That’s why our clients must have complete confidence in us as a service provider to handle donor gifts and personal data with absolute security, accuracy and efficiency. In Merkle RMG’s mail processing department, we work to earn and keep this trust every day.
I’ve been with Merkle Response Management for over seven years, beginning in our Quality and Implementation departments overseeing the Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2008) and annual Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE16) certification processes as well as assisting with the on-boarding process of new clients. In 2011, I was promoted to Assistant Manager of Client Services while continuing to oversee Merkle’s Quality Management System.
In a past blog, I talked about the important role contact centers play in enhancing donor lifetime value. I outlined several best practices, including availability and responsiveness, producing a high level of service, gathering information to strengthen relationships and acknowledging donor contributions. Today, I’ll highlight some examples of how contact centers can be used to proactively reach out to donors to strengthen their relationship with your organization.
For any nonprofit organization, donor retention is the single most important indicator of performance. It’s a direct reflection of what donors feel about you. At Episcopal Relief & Development we ask ourselves, “Are we doing everything possible to ensure that our donors hold us in high regard? And will their good opinion ultimately translate into regular, generous contributions?” Our regular weekly, monthly or yearly donors believe in our mission, want to be a part of it, and are glad to tell others about it. But even with committed donors on board, it’s a never-ending job, and we must continue to steward the relationship so that these donors remain loyal.
As the President of Merkle Response Management Group, I lead the many facets of our business – from client satisfaction, product enhancements and new services, to sales presentations, business strategy, employee engagement and process improvement. No two days are ever alike. In my free time, I like to explore my creative side. I am a frustrated artist at heart who enjoys Plein Air landscape painting, and crafting wood furniture. I also enjoy tinkering on my restored VW ’66 bug.
One of the most important activities for a nonprofit is the handling of incoming communications from donors. Because nonprofits depend on donors to fund the programs and operations that serve the organization’s mission, using these interactions to build and maintain a strong donor base is fundamentally important. Below, I’ve outlined some best practices for using your contact center to enhance donor lifetime value.
When I think about the impact donors have on our mission, one of my favorite quotes comes to mind:
Dan Zadra once said, ”Let no one tell you that a problem is too big, or that you can’t make a difference.” And, he’s right — even the smallest effort can make a difference, and it’s a wonderful starting point from which to begin building a strong bond with your donors.