Ok, I’m going to give you a chance here. A chance to be completely honest with yourself.

No excuses. No ifs. No buts.

Here we go…

☐ Do you know how many active monthly donors are giving to your organization right now?
☐ Do you know what their average monthly gift is?
☐ Can you tell me what your current attrition rate is from your monthly donors?
☐ Have you invested in your monthly giving program this year?

If you are now feeling a little embarrassed, a little panicked, that’s ok. You’re not alone. But it’s time to pay your best donors a little more attention.

Your monthly donors are among the most loyal, generous and responsive of your donors. When a donor converts from single gifts to monthly giving, their lifetime value can increase up to 30 times.

And once you convert a donor to a monthly donor, it’s very rare for them to stop giving. For DM acquired monthly donors we often see retention rates of 95% or higher, year over year.

So what can you do today?

  1. Start keeping track of your monthly donors. Include them in your weekly, monthly and annual reporting.
  2. Stay in contact with your monthly donors. Try newsletters, thank you phone calls and invites to appropriate events.
  3. Put aside some time to plan a monthly donor recruitment campaign.

And finally, I highly recommend you start reading and researching. Harvey’s Hidden Gold is an excellent resource.  It will be one of the best things you do.

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I was thrilled to attend a presentation by Drayton Bird yesterday. (Quiz Wikipedia if this name doesn’t ring a bell, but hopefully it does.).

Amongst many wisdoms and wisecracks, perhaps my favorite tip was this. Nothing matters in business except these three things:

a) getting more customers; b) keeping your customers; c) getting your customers to buy more.

The same is obviously true in fundraising. Is what I’m doing right now truly helping me recruit more donors? Is it helping me keep more donors? Is it convincing donors to give my organization more money?

I’d suggest that anything we’re spending much time on that isn’t doing one of these three things is probably time (and the generous donor-dollars which fund fundraisers’ time) wasted. For example: is one of those pantones you are making your designer agonize over truly going to recruit more donors than the other? (Colours do affect response, by the way, but not necessarily every different nuance of a colour).

Is that labour-intensive, low-yielding event you are staying up until 3AM organizing honestly going to raise more money from existing supporters than you could make in other ways?

Will the 45-page RFP you are writing right now really help you keep your donors? More so than a 5-page RFP would? I’m not trying to be facetious (not too facetious, anyway). Some of these things MIGHT help you recruit new donors, keep your current donors longer, and convince existing donors to give your wonderful cause more money. But I think it’s worth asking ourselves - daily. I’ll print these rules out and stick them above my desk today – join me?

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Our friends at Imagine Canada seeks clarification from CRTC about anti-spam and charities. Imagine Canada have received notice from CRTC, that there are inconsistencies between their interpretation of the exemption for commercial electronic messages sent by registered charities.

The CRTC has yet to issue official guidance on the exemption as it applies to charities and has indicated that a FAQ document pertaining to registered charities will be issued in the coming weeks. Imagine Canada have wrote to the CRTC asking to meet with them immediately to obtain clarification and guidance to assist charities.

Here is a link to the Imagine Canada email, we thank them for their diligence in reporting on this matter.






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You may be aware of the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation coming into effect on July 1, 2014. If your organization hasn't already considered how the law might affect you we encourage you to review this document. It will provide some background on the new law. If you have any questions you can contact us at

Read the CASL Report




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Fundraising friends and colleagues, I urge you to read this memo regarding the recent transfer of CIBC Aerogold Visa business to TD Bank, how it will impact monthly donations in Canada and what HMA and Public Outreach are recommending our clients do. Please let us know if you have any questions.


Click here to download the memo PDF

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HMA has been helping clients find legacy prospects and cultivate them into bequest donors for more than 20 years. This year, we’re excited to be launching two new services that will help you achieve even more of your legacy fundraising goals. We call them Legacy Spotlight and Legacies Made Simple.

Legacy spotlight is an innovative donor scoring system that will help you easily identify the very best legacy prospects within your donor base.

We’ve taken decades worth of our own experience running legacy campaigns, and combined it with the best legacy research and donor knowledge from around the globe.

The result is a scoring system that starts with the data in your own database, but goes far beyond. We begin with your donors’ past giving history (like many scoring systems do). What makes this scoring system unique, though, is that we have also identified a series of important non-financial indicators that will uncover the donors who are far more likely than others to leave your non-profit a bequest in their Will.

Legacies Made Simple is a complete legacy toolkit that will supply you with the templates for everything from your initial contact through cultivation and stewardship of your legacy donors. It includes surveys, direct mail packs, enquiry fulfilment materials, and telephone scripts.

This comprehensive toolkit will make your legacy program more efficient and effective. It will make your job easier; whether you have an entire planned giving team, just one person, or no designated legacy marketing staff at all.

Together, these products will give you everything you need to successfully build a portfolio of legacy donors – painlessly and affordably.

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Although the #CAGP2014 is just around the corner, we wanted to post a summary of another recent conference that HMA attended – the Non-Profit Technology Conference in Washington, DC.

Many of us have heard that direct mail is dead, and online is the way to go. While that may be true in some industries, it couldn’t be further from the truth in fundraising. It is true that online giving is growing at a faster pace than DM (online giving grew by 13.5% in 2013), and now accounts for 6.4% of overall fundraising revenue. While this is still a small share it’s important that all organizations are prepared to deliver their fundraising message in today’s connected world.

Large organizations had the greatest increase in overall giving in 2013, while small organizations had the greatest increase in online giving. This is important as it probably means that small orgs weren't doing much before. So the big guys may not be getting all that much more online. And the rate of online giving growth was biggest in the religious sector (including church giving) which makes up the biggest piece of the giving pie in the USA.

We’ve compiled our top recommendations from the show to help integrate new forms of technology and media into your fundraising. If you’re interested in learning more about how HMA can help you build your fundraising revenue in any of these areas please get in touch with us at

1.      Your cause is mobile, whether you are ready or not

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Please enjoy a guest blog from our friend Andy Robinson, co-author of the new and highly useful book: Train Your Board


Become a Great Trainer: Use a Flip Chart instead of PowerPoint



David outsmarts Goliath: Why flip charts beat PowerPoint

Lately I’ve been leading a lot of “Train Your Board” workshops based on our new book. I often start by asking, “Raise your hand if you’ve ever attended a bad class, a bad workshop, or a bad seminar?”

Hands fly into the air. Everybody laughs, because we’ve all been there.

And then I ask, “What makes a bad workshop really, really bad?”

How bad is bad? Let us count the ways.

I encourage them to turn to a colleague and generate a list.  Here are several common items:

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Normally we don't talk about food on our website, but we are making an exception this week to let thousands of delegates visiting Vancouver know where some of the great restaurants are located.


Welcome to the Vancouver CAGP 2014 Annual National conference.

While here we assume that you would like to eat food. Preferably great food. So I have prepared a list of some of my favorite restaurants for you. I hope that this little guide leads you to sample some great food, and enjoy some of the best of what our city offers.

Vancouver is a great restaurant city. It's full of creative chefs, and an abundance of local delights.

You can dine out at our local “100 mile diet” gem, Pair Bistro, or sample the amazing ethnically diverse restaurant scene.

You will not go hungry.

I've split this recommendation list into three different categories to make it somewhat easier. First, since virtually all delegates will be staying in downtown Vancouver, I focused my choices on what will be close by. Second, I've tried to divide it into low-budget, medium, and high end. Frequently, but not always, the best restaurants tend to charge you a lot more money. Nonetheless, sometimes it's worth it.

I've also added some vegan and vegetarian recommendations. If I didn't mention where they are, the restaurants are in the downtown core. Other restaurants I mentioned are still within 3 to 7 miles from the conference center.

Good Budget restaurants

Simpatico's: Greek restaurant, 2222 W. 4th Avenue (Kitsilano, 3 km from downtown).

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Two weeks ago I posted a blog expressing my concern about Canada’s Federal Conservative government attack on charities.  The response to this blog was overwhelming.  All supportive.  And frightening.

Why frightening?

Dozens of people in the non-profit sector told me they wish they could speak out against the Canadian Revenue Agency targeting on non-profits.  But they were afraid if they did, they would be audited.  They were intimidated and that’s what Prime Minister Harper seems to want.

It appears that the Federal Conservatives are more interested in silencing voices, than listening to a variety of opinions on critically important issues.  But Canada needs democratic participation and dialogue to address many social problems.  And we need everyone contributing to make a difference, especially non-profit staff that have significant expertise in helping people and protecting our environment.

My blog was reprinted in two popular online publications. And my Global TV interview was seen by a large audience, with thousands of re-postings of the online clip.  Take heart non-profit staff, the public is interested in this issue. 

First the Federal conservatives silenced the scientists.  Now they are trying to silence non-profits.  We can’t let them get away with this abuse of democracy.



P.S.    I just read an article with an analysis that raises serious questions about the reason environmental groups are being audited.

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