Each day here at Bloomerang, all of our team has the pleasure and true honor of helping hundreds of charities achieve their mission via our fundraising database software. Literally every size and type of organization is touched each week.

The Bloomerang Needs Analysis

One of my personal favorite portions of our sales and support cycles is what we affectionately refer to as our Needs Analysis call. Unlike most vendors who jump straight to the dessert of the sales cycle the demonstration first; our team diligently works to understand the needs and objectives of every single non-profit we have the privilege to work with.

When conducting the needs analysis, our first question is a wonderfully open ended question asking about the charity’s mission and how they fund it at present. The answer provided is often a 5-10 minute summary straight from the heart of the executive/fundraiser we are speaking with. I love to listen while viewing their web site so I can soak in the pictures, which often frame the story of their existence and take it to a whole new level.

Fundraising Equals Relationship Building

When we are working with brand new charities we can feel their excitement and often times their apprehension about where all of their funding will come from. I have coached our team to help them reassure every charity we work with that fundraising is built upon relationships. We also, let them know if they are exceptional with personal friendships, they will be just as exceptional with prospect and donor relationships! As we talk, they realize how important building relationships are and that keeping track of those relationships is the essence of our database service.

We often take a moment during the needs analysis to share a few “what if’s.”  My most often used metaphor is to state I am going to take my consultant hat off and place my sales hat on for a minute. Then, based upon the particular objective or current concern we are discussing, I will unveil and explain just how we address the concern or meet the objective. The NPO will often start asking when they can see that function in action (sort of like viewing the scrumptious desert menu or seeing a waiter walk by with a dessert tray prior to your soup or salad arriving at your table).

Calculating Your Retention Rate

The Top Objective is Always Donor Retention

So far in 2013, when we ask what the NPO’s top objective is to achieve or to improve, we more times than not, hear the cry for help with their donor retention. They often feel even stronger about the need to improve donor retention when I explain exactly how to figure the proper percentage. The formula for computing your donor retention is below.

When they apply the formula the stark reality of how many donors are leaving each year reaches straight into the soul of every fundraiser and charity executives. The awareness of the importance of donor retention has catapulted into forefront of most nonprofit leader’s minds.

The Next Step After the Needs Analysis

Now the joy, and in my opinion, the ultimate in job satisfaction for our team comes to the forefront. We assemble our recommendations based upon our full hour or more of needs analysis. Just like a doctor correctly formulating a complex diagnosis, which allows the patient to be cured, our proposal specifies the “proper treatment” to “cure” many of the biggest fundraising problems we discuss. The joy and excitement is plentiful on both sides of the table/phone, as we detail what Bloomerang can and cannot do with the nonprofit executives.

In most cases, we are able to discuss every problem and objective, while we point out how and where Bloomerang can address. We are able to see the often times expression of despair we heard in the needs analysis morph into excitement and relieve.

Knowing we will soon be presenting just how we can achieve the results they desire in the last step of our sales process, the personalized demonstration, brings even more satisfaction to our team.

I have found over the years of talking with most everyone I know, the ability to “HELP” other people is a critical component of those individuals loving their daily activities of their chosen career. Now you know one of the biggest reasons for our team at Bloomerang to enjoy being such a key part of the nonprofit world. Helping to improve fundraising, so missions can be achieved, makes every day a pure joy for us!

I hope your chosen career does the same for you.

Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.