Your attention is now on FY22 and, after the last 15 months, you are likely approaching things a bit differently. As you should. Fiscal year 2021 has given us all-time highs in first-time giving and all-time lows in retention.
- Giving USA tells us that charitable giving in the U.S. rose more than 5.1% percent to a record $471.44 billion in 2020. Organizations saw countless new donors as they were called on by their communities – especially as economic-impact payments were received.
- Meanwhile, the overall donor retention rate in 2020 was 43.6% - the lowest rate since it began being charted by the Fundraising Effectiveness Project. Fewer than one in five donors who gave to a nonprofit for the first time in 2019 gave again to the same charity in 2020.
As we continue to make sense of these numbers, it all feels like a tale of two cities. This upcoming fiscal year presents either a wonderful opportunity to enroll more donors to support your mission or a seemingly insurmountable task of prioritizing who to engage with and how to do it.
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So, what is your strategy? Who do you prioritize so that you have a fruitful pipeline through FY22? What about your pipeline in the next five years?
To help you get started, I’ve outlined five big-picture tasks to consider prioritizing as you head into FY22:
Target specific segments
Surely you want to try to re-engage your LYBUNTS, as we know they have recently demonstrated some level of affinity for your mission. Might as well target your SYBUNTS at the same time, right? Take the opportunity to target specific segments of your donor pools, like LYBUNTS/SYBUNTS, with personal, relationship-building engagement.
Cultivate those new donors
You will also want to engage with those new, first-time donors in order to keep them involved. No matter how much they gave, many may have the capacity to give significantly more down the road. But it is up to you to cultivate that relationship with them. Take the time to personally recognize and build relationships with first-time donors to ensure retention.
Saturate your portfolios
Don’t forget about your portfolios, whether it be mid-level or major gifts. You’ll want to keep all of those donors engaged, too. Focus on fully saturating your primary donor portfolios with consistent, personal engagement. Prioritizing portfolio saturation will produce tangible results now and down the road as well.
Rebuild your team
Ah, yes, don’t forget about the new gift officers you have to hire! It will take a while to get them up and running with a full portfolio of donors, so prioritize this earlier in the fiscal year to ensure they can help you make a solid impact in FY22.
Sustain your pipeline
It might be smart to get some discovery/qualification work done so you are continuously building a sustainable pipeline of donors. Place emphasis on managing secondary portfolios consisting of rated, but unassigned prospects through discovery/qualification cycles to ensure pipeline sustainability.
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