A year ago, just before we knew how hard the COVID-19 crisis was about to hit us, Barbara Cecil was hoping for a decent fundraising year. She had no idea what was in store for her.
Now, looking back at 2020, she says, “I had the best fundraising year of my life!”
Barbara is the Development Director at SOS Community Services, a social service agency in Ypsilanti, Michigan (near Detroit). She’s been there for 15 years.
In 2020, Barbara has more than doubled the year’s revenue goal.
That’s not how it’s been going for the last few years.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit just over a year ago, the people Barbara’s organization serve were especially hard hit with job losses and the disease itself.
While many fundraisers reacted by panicking and shutting down communication with donors, Barbara went into high gear.
Through the spring and summer, she did several successful direct mail appeals. She included many non-donors in her mailings, mailing heavily in the surrounding community.
In a typical year, she acquires about 200 donors. In 2020: “We have acquired 584 new cash donors. In addition, we have a large number of long-term lapsed donors, many of whom haven’t given in more than six years.”
She also achieved notable success buying an advertisement in a local newspaper. It brought in new donors at a substantial net profit — something that rarely happens in fundraising.
Barbara credits her success to the new knowledge and support she’s received through Moceanic and The Fundraisingology Lab. But we know she has herself to thank. Her success comes from her own hard work plus her determination to get the guidance she needed — and her ability to follow through.
Because of the pandemic, the need for her organization’s service is greater than it has ever been. “But we are well-positioned to help!” Barbara says. “The future is exciting.”
A few years back, she remembers, she failed to make her fundraising goal for the year. She had no idea why, or what to do to correct it.
“I will never be in that situation again,” she says. “I will never be sitting here scratching my head wondering what went wrong. I know now what I should have done then, and what I should do now. I feel so empowered!”
Her goals for the coming year? “To retain the growth we’ve achieved, and to launch bequest fundraising and a monthly giving program” — both keys to long-term success for smart fundraisers.
Ready to experience success as Barbara has? Join The Fundraisingology Lab by Moceanic. You’ll get the tools, the information, and the supporting community that will take you to new places in your fundraising career.
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