10 Things I Learned from Save the Children’s Success

A real highlight of the Bridge Conference was a session on Transforming Your Organization Through High Impact Strategies by Janine Scolpino. She is in charge of mass-market fundraising (donations under $10k) for Save the Children and has been leading the organization through a strategic plan to grow unrestricted revenue. And it’s working . . . with improvements in response rates, average gifts, and long-term donor value.

So, what’s the secret? Here are 10 tips you can take away from Janine’s session and the Save the Children success story:

  1. Inspire your team to believe change is possible and then clear any obstacle that gets in their way.
  2. In your acquisition program, shift from a “Cost to raise a dollar” mindset to a “Long term value” mindset.
  3. Recognize that other departments are critical to your growth plan. Janine set aside 10% of her investment to fund the things teams would need to support her team’s growth.
  4. Invest in mid-level first to generate revenue that you can use to invest in new channels that will take longer to pay off.
  5. Try lots of things. Save the Children tested DRTV, radio, canvass, DIY fundraising, and more.
  6. Improve data quality – spend money on this! Save’s audit found that more than 20% of their records had data quality issues.
  7. Consider a plan to acquire mid-level donors online – and offer them a very warm welcome series by email.
  8. Create shared revenue goals with closely allied teams such as marketing, communications and major gifts.
  9. Establish a concierge program for your midlevel donors to ensure higher touch stewardship. Save the Children outsourced this, but other organizations are adding mid level gift officers to the staff.
  10. Finally, the most important thing you can do to grow revenue from your individual donors? Think about how you can “surprise and delight your donors.”

Thanks Janine for a great session. We learned a lot and came away inspired!

 

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