Fundraising Part 4: Using information to make an informed choice as a donor

In the first three posts in our series on fundraising, we’ve covered acquisition campaigns, long-term donor value enhancement and regulatory compliance; three highly important functions that professional fundraisers provide for nonprofits.  Each of these plays a part in a nonprofit’s ability to deliver their beneficial programs and services.

Even with all the new communication channels today, tele-fundraising is among the most effective – if not THE most effective – means of fundraising available to nonprofit organizations.

Despite that fact, periodically consumers are presented with reports that will list percentages of funds raised by professional fundraisers that seem alarmingly low.  But are they really?

What reports on professional telephone fundraising campaigns DON’T tell you

Government reports from the various states often fail to provide even a minimal description of the type of campaign that was being conducted. In our first post, we discussed acquisition campaigns where fundraising is the secondary goal to identifying new donors.  A nonprofit’s donor list is its greatest asset.  But it’s an asset the organization is not able to list on their balance sheet, so the general public may not associate a fixed dollar amount to its value.  But that list represents much of the future growth potential for the organization based on the impact of future donations from its valued members.

Similarly, these reports can’t measure the value of an interaction – even one that does not result in a donation – where the person contacted receives an update on all the great things the organization is doing, which further enhances the donor’s connection to the organization.

Where can a donor go for accurate information on an organization’s fundraising spending?

Anyone who is looking to determine the overall allocation of resources which a nonprofit organization commits to its core mission, can simply take a look at the nonprofit’s Form 990 filed each year with the IRS.  This form contains information on how much money the organization spends in total on fundraising and how much goes to programs and services.  This is the report which provides a much better view of the nonprofit organization’s good stewardship of the funds entrusted to them.

I hope this series has helped to give a better understanding of how professional fundraising through direct marketing – and specifically telemarketing – actually works.  As always thank you for joining us.


Click here for Fundraising Part 1: How Nonprofits and Professional Fundraisers Partner to make a Difference

Click here for Fundraising Part 2: The Professional Fundraiser and Nonprofit Relationship

Click here for Fundraising Part 3: Compliance and Nonprofit Fundraising