New Donors vs. SYBUNTs

Abigail Harmon - Head of the Fundraising Committee

The Fundraising Committee Experience, Month 2

Last month I started a series entitled, “The Fundraising Committee Experience.” I gave an overview of my new role as head of the fundraising committee for my town’s education foundation, NEF. Most of the feedback I received was positive, but I did hear a few questions about why we chose to focus on new donors vs. SYBUNTs or LYBUNTs. In fact, I had to defend our decision to my boss.

This month, I will explain a bit about how we came to that conclusion.

In 9 out of 10, if not 96 out of a 100 cases, raising additional funds should focus on donors who have previously given to your organization but have not yet reinvested– the LYBUNTs and SYBUNTs. From stewarding donors into larger, more meaningful gifts to assessing why donors have not renewed the gifts – the field is ripe with fruit waiting to be noticed and picked. It is the logical place to start.

But, what if there has not been a multi-step plan to attract new donors for some time? We are an organization that organically touches more than 400 new students each year (I read that as 400 students with families whose lives are going to be enriched for the next 13+ years by the organization). But, there is limited awareness of the organization and its value to the community and its schools. Our future depends on increasing our donor base – now and on a continual basis. So, we think our education foundation may be the exception, and not the rule.
That is not to say we will be eliminating stewardship of current donors. Stewardship should always, always, always be a part of a nonprofit’s fundraising effort. But, it is just not one of our three new areas of focus for this year.

But, each nonprofit has to consider their own fundraising circumstances. We (those of us at Mersky, Jaffe & Associates) may have years and years of experience, but each consultation is unique. There is no cookie cutter approach to increase donations, just a bit of analyzing and a lot of hard work. Now, we will have to determine the best ways to attract new donors to NEF.

Read The Fundraising Committee Experience

Read other articles on committees

Read other articles about fundraising