Should You Invest in a Donor Database or a Fundraising Consultant?

invest in a donor database

Hey hey hey Bloomerang readers! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mazarine Treyz. My business is Wild Woman Fundraising, and I’m a nonprofit consultant in leadership and fundraising. For the last four years I’ve run two online conferences that Bloomerang has sponsored, The Fundraising Career Conference and the Nonprofit Leadership Summit.

This means I’m a nonprofit worker advocate and I love helping you get the most out of your life through planning your career and asking for more.

It also means I love helping nonprofit staff learn how to fundraise. I love helping support leaders to understand fundraising and support their staff to fundraise more effectively. Which is why the question I heard the other day really made me frustrated.

“Database or Consultant? Which one do you want?” he said.

Recently I worked with a nonprofit development director and invited their team to get some decent donor database software (like Bloomerang) in addition to working with me.

Their boss came back with, “Which do you want, a database or consultant? You can’t have both!”

And although they chose me, I’m still bummed.

Bummed that this boss did not understand it’s not database OR consultant, it’s database AND consultant.

If all of this is true, then asking database OR consultant makes no sense.

What happens to staff when this little phrase comes out?

You say “Database or Consultant,” they hear, “We don’t want to give you the support you need to succeed.”

When you tell your employees database or consultant, you’re telling them that there’s only so far you actually want to invest in their success. And you’re giving them an impossible choice!

Which tells me this question of investment is a leadership issue, not just a fundraising issue.

As a nonprofit leader, you know the importance of having decent mentorship and guidance for your team. Someone who has already raised a lot of money tends to know how to raise lots more. Investing in a consultant just makes sense, whether it’s to:

  • Write your appeal letter and series of year end emails
  • Help with your messaging
  • Create a communications calendar
  • Put together a fundraising plan.

It will save your staff MONTHS of fumbling in the dark. It will help you get better fundraising results in the short term and in the long term. If you’re looking to hire a consultant, I’ve got a link right here with how to hire a consultant. Thank me later.

If you’re a nonprofit leader, ask yourself, “if I’m expecting better fundraising results, how much money am I actually putting into my fundraising program to get the results I say I want?”

If you’re a development director coming up against a “lack of budget” for your program, it’s time for some basic education for your board and executive director.

Nonprofit Leaders, Face the Facts:

Investing in your database technology and automation is going to pay off.

Don’t believe me?

At the Nonprofit Leadership Summit at the end of September, we had a nonprofit founder and automation expert named Justin Handley (of Pirate and Fox) talk about all of the different tasks you can automate at your nonprofit, everything from emails to donors (obviously) to customized follow-up methods based on how the subscriber to your email first comes to you.

When you automate basic donor and subscriber follow-up tasks, you get hours of your time back, every week. You can save 10 hours of time a week on mundane tasks. If you’re paying someone $10 an hour (which should be $15, but let’s say you are), then you’re saving $100 a week. That’s $400 a month.

Wouldn’t you like to save $400 a month and stop the mindless busywork that a staff person doesn’t even like doing? Most donor databases aren’t even $400 a month!

I’ve been there, been that staff person just emailing and entering donations into the database. It’s So. Mind-numbingly. Boring. Not even volunteers would be into this. You know it’s true.

So nonprofit leaders, please. Please. Say to your fundraising staff, “Database AND consultant. We want to support you to succeed.”

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Mazarine Treyz
Mazarine Treyz is a nationally-recognized strategist for fundraising planning and communications. She is the CEO of Wild Woman Fundraising and the Author of The Wild Woman's Guide to Fundraising, as well as other books. Creator of over 12 e-courses, 3 masterclasses and 3 books, she has coached and taught over 12,000 nonprofit professionals how to be better fundraisers since 2010. Mazarine is the founder of the Fundraising Career Conference and the Nonprofit Leadership Summit.
By | 2018-10-23T11:48:58+00:00 October 24th, 2018|Nonprofit Consulting, Nonprofit Management, Software|

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