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Donor Psychology

VIDEO: Roger Craver on the Amazing Donor-Behavior Prediction Tool You Can Use Now

Roger Craver, founder of DonorVoice and editor at the must-read blog, The Agitator, describes the power of the donor commitment survey, a simple three-question survey that’s highly predictive of donor giving.

He’ll show you how to put it to work for your organization … including what to do with the information.

This is information that can transform your fundraising and lift your ability to treat the right donors in the right ways to new levels of effectiveness.

Here’s the complete survey.  Update it with the name of your organization, but do not change any of the questions, as that will destroy the predictive power of the information!

DCS for Craver vlog

Have you had any experience with the donor commitment survey?  Have any questions about how to use it? Share or ask in the comments below. We’d love to learn from your experience.

CFRE Points:
Pop Art Man Hide and Seek landscape
Direct MailMajor and Mid Value Donors

Where For Art Thou Major Donors? The #1 Secret To Finding Those Hidden Major Donors.

Fundraisers can spend a lot of time asking “Where can I find some major donors?” They can spend enormous resources searching for these loving and generous people in all kinds of places.

Clever fundraisers do it the easy way: They start by looking at home.

That’s right: The most likely place you’ll find major donors is on your existing donor file.

Related blog: The Missing Millions in YOUR Charity’s Database

It may seem more glamorous and exciting to seek new major donors from the rich and famous, the top end of town. And for universities, arts and capital campaigns that may not be a bad place to look.

But drilling down into the data, I can see much more money for most charities coming from mid-value donors. They’re in plain sight, and most of them are already direct mail donors.

Related video: Understanding the Pareto Principle

I know, I know –- so many are saying, ‘Direct Mail is Dead!’

Well, it isn’t. Not only is it not dead — for many charities, it’s more alive than ever! It is the single biggest source of donors who are going to give more than $1,000 in the future.

Relate blog: Who is Most Likely to Give You $5,000?

The chart below shows the huge proportion of money that comes in from the ‘small’ numbers of donors in the bequest and $1000+ categories in the Pareto Benchmarking study in Australia.

Pareto cubed donors by type number and value

(For more about the superb Pareto Fundraising benchmarking study, check out their website).

Charities that succeed in raising money from donations over $1,000 tend to start with people already on their database. It works and is not that hard to do.

Want to learn how? Check out my Mid-Value Donor Super Course and I will show you step-by-step how to raise more money from mid and major donors. Join The Fundraisingology Lab and get instant access to this and more. It’s the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to raise more money for your charity!

CFRE Points:
Really Integrating Direct Mail with Major Donors and Bequests
BenchmarkingBequests and LegaciesDirect MailMajor and Mid Value DonorsMaths of Fundraising

Really Integrating Direct Mail with Major Donors and Bequests

I believe the new big thing for charities (and something Roger Craver of The Agitator has pointed out) is something really old-fashioned: talking to your donors face to face. Especially mid-value donors and those considering making bequests.

The charities that grow and raise more money for their beneficiaries are those with a long-term view. They have a cohesive, coordinated and focused strategy.

With only 301 charities (1%) accounting for half of total revenue in Australia, it is relatively easy to get hold of some really fascinating data. Especially when many of the larger charities collaborate in Pareto’s annual benchmarking exercise.

Let’s take direct mail.  If you haven’t already got a large database of donors through direct mail, the costs of donor acquisition, setting up a team and database, bringing in the right skills and more can mean it will take years to break even, much less generate funds for the cause.

Despite that, approached holistically, the bottom line is that direct mail, in most countries, still produces one of the very best medium and long term returns of any acquisition.

Related blog: Do I Still Love Premiums!?

You are probably asking… what is this ‘holistically’ caveat? Well, a few things actually.  Direct mail-acquired donors produce the best results when:

Preferably more than 50% but at least 35% of acquisition costs are recovered by donations to the acquisition mailing.


Your team works together.  Direct mail, bequests, mid value, digital and major donors.


You are focused on maximizing net income in the long term, not on short-term Return on Investment.


There are people prepared to, and trained to, approach and ask donors and bequests for additional funds on a personal basis.

Take this example, based on real data and modelled for a new entrant to direct mail in Australia.

The charity invests $1 million per year, for five years, on direct mail acquisition.  Other costs such as ongoing house mailings, calling donors for regular (monthly) gifts, thanking, processing and developing packs are additional to that million but included in the model.

After ten years the charity would have raised over $7 million net.  A lot of effort and risk for what is an OK return.

However, what if the charity ‘lifted’ the values of some of these donors through major donor activities? Applying the growth that we have seen the best charities get through their major donor programs, and including some costs for staff and materials, we end up with $13.6 million.  Now we are talking growth!

Related blog: The Missing Millions in YOUR Charity’s Database

And what if they were great at legacy fundraising too? Well, they’d be up at $21.3m net, with an annual net income looking forward in excess of $3m which is pretty much in the bag.  A superb, reliable and expandable revenue.

Here it is illustrated:

Comparing direct mail with bequests legacies and major donor 65pc ROI

A great chart for your board when you are seeking investment, and a great approach for breaking down internal silos.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can mine this gold, check out my Mid-Value Donor Super Course that is available to all members inside The Fundraisingology Lab

It’s the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to raise more money for your charity!

CFRE Points:
Moceanic logo

Who Needs a Funny New Word? Well, You and I Do!

Moceanic: It’s about love, depth, and how together we are going to change the world by changing the way we do fundraising.

I’m really grateful to you for reading my articles.

It’s your comments, feedback, and participation that gave me an idea so big I can’t keep it inside!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

That idea: Moceanic. You may have already heard how this new company is going to change the way smart fundraisers get even smarter. But you probably haven’t heard the funny made-up word, Moceanic.

Well, fundraising is all about telling stories. So let me tell you a story. This story has no fundraising use for you – but I hope you enjoy it!

Once upon a time…

I’d been traveling.  A lot.  Then I had to make a sudden two-week trip to Europe.  Then three weeks in North America, with only four days between these trips back home in Australia.

All this without Christiana, my partner, who usually travels with me.

It was a really hard couple of months. There’d been a death in the family, and we were emotionally raw. Missing each other.

On the way home I had ten hours layover in Los Angeles, so I went to Santa Monica beach, not far from the airport. Even if you’ve never been to LA, you know Santa Monica beach, with its gaudy pier and preening sunbathers.  The sun was setting over the Pacific.

I got out my phone and FaceTimed Christiana in Australia. I asked her to go to the beach near our home and call me back.

A few minutes later, Christiana called me. It was noon where she was, more than 11,000 kilometres away. I looked at the setting sun and knew it was right over her head. So I faced that direction.

MapWe stood, our toes in the Pacific and waved to each other across an ocean so vast it staggers the imagination.

But we were standing in the same ocean, united by its life-giving water. With the help of technology, it was as if we face each other across a puddle in the garden.

This is what Christiana could see looking North East…


And this is what I could see looking South West. Christiana is directly under the sun but 11,535km past the Ferris wheel (7,168 miles).

roller coasterTwenty-one hours later I’d flown over the vast blue and was home.

With that image — the ocean that both divides and connects us, that sustains life on our planet and calms the soul of every human being who has stood on a beach and watched the waves that have travelled so far churn at their feet — with all that still huge in our minds — Christiana and I talked about the future.

Walking in the shallows, we talked about the webinars we had put on that year.

More than 1,000 people signed up for my ‘Three Secrets to Fundraising from Facebook’ webinar. In a couple of months, just over 3,200 people signed up to receive articles and information on learning from fundraising.

And fundraising experts Tom Ahern, Jeff Brooks, Rebecca Davies, Fiona McPhee and Roger Craver joined Kathy Allen and me in producing our first ‘series’ all about mid value donor fundraising. This attracted more than 250 people from 15 countries.

And the feedback was great.

We realised there is a need. A hunger for quality, focused experience-based content.  Aimed at fundraisers around the world who really get it and who are ready to go new places with their fundraising.

So we went for it.  We hired someone to help with marketing and someone to manage all the stuff I am no good at (lots of things). Christiana is setting up the tech and working on the content production.

Now we needed a name.

You know how brainstorming is. You come up with a lot of ideas. Some of them really cool. Others just plain bad. If you promise not to tell anyone else, here are a few we thought of:

Exitus Fundraising (Latin for outcome), CuddleComms (in brainstorming, there’s no such thing as a bad idea!), International Fundraising Academy (boring, sorry Roger), Hypatia Fundraising (she was an ancient-times mathematician), MAD Fundraising…

One day, walking along the beach again (we do that every day), Christiana asked me to identify words that described the ‘feeling’ of this new business I wanted to create.

I said, “Depth, change, practical, global, movement, inclusive, friendly, ethical, exciting, fun, easy, uniting.”  Perhaps the name had to have something to do with the ocean. But how?

That night we went to see Star Wars: Rogue One.  (It was awesome.)  As we walked out Christiana said, out of the blue, “Moceanic.”

Instant smiles.  Yep.  That’s it.

Moceanic was born.

How to pronounce it? I’ll let you decide. It depends on your accent.

I hope Moceanic will be part of your life, your calling, and your profession in the coming years.

Thank you for reading.


P.S. I told a little fib.  There is a fundraising application from this story after all. We are going to use Facebook to begin to create more of a community around fundraising learning.  You can help by checking out our new Facebook page… Moceanic on Facebook and liking it, please!  Oh, and any comments are GREAT!  Thank you so much.

P.P.S. Do you know other people who are in the “tribe” of smart fundraisers like yourself? Forward this email to them, or tell them about Moceanic. Our greatness will come from all of us together, our toes in the ocean, connecting across the horizon!


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