Grizzard: Nonprofits Right Where They Should Be Online

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WASHINGTON--Most nonprofits are on target in using the Web to raise money, according to Grizzard Communications Group principal Claude Grizzard at the Direct Marketing Association's 10th Annual Nonprofit Conference here yesterday.

"People will continue to make donations the same way they pay their bills," said Grizzard, who received this year's Nonprofit Council's Fundraising Achievement Award. "Nonprofits, in my mind, are ahead of the curve right now. It has not become sink or swim with organizations and the Web just yet. In 10 or 15 years, it probably will be. But as long as they keep at the pace they're at right now they'll be right where they need to be when the time comes."

Like every other industry, organizations within the nonprofit sector are starting to focus and invest more of their money in online activity.

"At most of the conferences held now, everyone is talking about the Web," he said. "But there is more potential in that estimated $11 trillion intergenerational transfer of funds and in turning your regular small donors into major gift givers. People should be focusing on tapping into that at conferences."

The last three years, Atlanta-based Grizzard has been focusing on turning donors who regularly give through direct mail into major gift givers.

"There's a difference between the two," he said. "You don't normally get a gift of $10,000 from a direct mail piece. Those are from the major givers who give once a year.

"Organizations need to use direct mail to cultivate their relationships with donors and eventually bring them into that major gift area," he said. "Use the contact through the mail to find out why they gave and you will learn more about them and increase their willingness to give more."

Grizzard noted the industry's misunderstanding of direct mail for fundraising. "Organizations will do a mailing and leave out those people who have most recently given when they are the people who are most likely to give again. But you have to convey the right messages to them and speak to them the right way, and you have to use direct mail to cultivate that relationship."

Organizations are also unwilling to learn more about their donors. "You can't just take their money put in the bank, you have to find out why they did it," Grizzard said. "They have to be treated better."

Grizzard, whose clients include The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, said that if a nonprofit understands a donor's reasoning behind their gift, an agency can use that to their advantage to strengthen the relationship between the two and turn that into increased donations.

"People give based on their perception of the need and the organization's ability to meet that need," Grizzard said. "It's up to the organization to make the donor's gift more meaningful."

Last year Grizzard helped its more than 2,5000 clients raise more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

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