On Ice Buckets & Retention

Everyone’s talking about the ALS ice bucket challenge –as well they should be. At last count, it had raised over $50 million for the cause and brought in more than 600,000 new donors.  And it’s nowhere near finished.

And the naysayers are off to the races. . . “It’s a one-hit wonder”. . . “Everyone’s dumping water on their head, but nobody’s talking about the disease” . . . “Those donors will never renew” . . . and so on.

As a fundraiser, I want to address this last one.

Sure, lots of those donors are never going to make a second gift. To which I say, so what!  I know a lot of organizations that would be happy to have 60,000 new donors—and that’s how many ALS will end up with if just 10% of the donors who’ve come on board stick with them.

And let’s not forget these donors walked in the door for free–a far cry from the $30 to $40 per donor investment many organizations are making to get a new donor these days.

I’ll be one of those who stays because I have an ALS story.  My Aunt Arlene lost her battle with ALS several years ago. Before that, I didn’t know much about the disease, but I saw how difficult it was for her to lose her ability to speak, to eat and even to move.

I never found my way to ALS before this—but now that I have, I’m delighted to donate in honor of my Aunt Arlene. I’m guessing there are more folks out there like me—people who know someone affected by ALS who were just waiting for this chance.  Those donors alone will get us close to that 10% retention goal!

The rest is up to ALS and how focused and successful they are with their retention and stewardship efforts. I personally wish them the best!

Kudos to ALS for this great success, and bah humbug to the naysayers!

– Posted by Kathy Swayze

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