Fundraising’s Secret Weapon: Data Analytics

Posted by on Feb 15, 2019 in Perspectives | Comments Off on Fundraising’s Secret Weapon: Data Analytics


First of all, understanding data does not need to be intimidating. In fact, understanding the meaning behind your data can have a positive impact on your bottom line.


But how exactly do I extract meaningful insights from my data, and utilize them to inform my future fundraising strategy?


Actually, the answer is deceptively simple. If you have a question, test it, and figure out what happened. Does that remind you of something?


Yes! Every day we use the Scientific Method to find actionable insights for fundraising programs. This method really allows us to identify relationships and understand the links behind those relationships. Sounds complicated, right?


Well, let’s break it down.


First, we need to ask a question.


What is the value of my donors over their lifetime? What is my donor retention rate? What are the costs related to acquiring a new donor compared to their lifetime value?


We are trying to tell a story based on an observed relationship. What story are you trying to tell? Asking a question helps us focus the discussion to improve our program.


Next, we need to do some background research.


Actually, this step is relatively simple, and maybe you’ve already done it. You have probably been tracking your donor data. By doing a historical analysis on our data, we can start to understand past trends within our organization.


Okay, now we are ready to make an educated guess to answer our question.


Based on the past performance of my program, I can increase the my donor retention by 5% this year.


Remember that we are just creating an educated guess based on the trends within our program. We need an educated prediction, so we have the ability measure the results from our experiment. Don’t worry if you are initially wrong!


Now, it’s time to test.


Build a mathematical model to test the effectiveness of your new strategy. What are the observable results?


Let’s draw a conclusion.


So, what were the results of your test? Did they match your hypothesis? Maybe, just maybe, we are ready to put an initial strategy into place. Maybe, we need to go back and retest. Whatever the answer, you are now primed to tell a story. We are telling the story of our data to understand and adjust our donor experience to maximize results.


Finally, share your results.


Data compliments the decision making process, and start’s new discussions about your program. Fundamentally, data is used for measuring and monitoring performance. We use it to create context for our program, and experiment to understand the impact of our decision.


Complex issues happen. But, don’t let the challenge of understanding data limit the potential of your fundraising program.  Are you ready to discuss the numbers?


The Power to Forecast Future Revenue

Posted by on Feb 12, 2019 in Perspectives | Comments Off on The Power to Forecast Future Revenue


This week, we are answering the question:


From Start to finish, how much revenue will a donor contribute to your organization?


So, let’s start to unpack that question.


By building a cycle of giving, you are able to retain donors to maximize the potential within your fundraising program. But, what’s the value of retaining these donors? Can we even assign a dollar value to donor retention?


That’s where Life Time Value (LTV) comes into the equation. With LTV, we are able to quantify the value of a donor relationship over the lifetime of their giving. Quite literally, we are able to build a prediction of the dollar value of a new donor relationship based off of your unique historical donor data.


So, why is calculating LTV important?


Remember, LTV is a predicted lifetime dollar value of a donor relationship. This number provides immediate insight into the overall health of your fundraising program, and will highlight the specific areas of opportunity that exist within your program.. Some donor types have a higher Life Time Value than others. It gives you the ability to maximize your potential of your fundraising program.


For example, the Life Time Value of a multi-channel donor is THREE times greater than a single channel donor.


So, how accurate is the lifetime value of a donor anyways?


Please note that LTV is nothing more than a prediction of the value of a donor relationship. Meaning, the more data you input into your lifetime value equation, the more accurate your predictions are.


            When Lifetime Value is calculated over a 5 to 8 year period, an organization will gain reliable metrics with forecasting future revenue. – Joey Faul, Deputy Director of Fundraising


That’s great. But, how can we relate acquisition costs to Lifetime Value?


The first contribution from a donor can be the start to a long relationship. We may acquire our donors from calling, mailing, texting, emailing and digitally. Keep in mind that acquisition channel matters.


Phone inception donors are 1.5 TIMES more likely to become multi -channel donors than digital or mail inception donors.


We can actualize the cost of acquisition and now compare it to the long term benefit of the donor. The rate of thoughtful appeals across multiple channels will improve your LTV.


            The value of a new donor is largely in control of the fundraising steward of each organization. – Joey Faul, Deputy Director of Fundraising


So, will you use a Lifetime Value analysis to drive your donor acquisition strategy?

Two Fundamental Needs: Fundraising and Food

Posted by on Feb 7, 2019 in Perspectives | Comments Off on Two Fundamental Needs: Fundraising and Food


Eating lunch this week, it suddenly hit me. Fundraising and cooking are basically the same concept. Maybe you don’t believe me yet, but let me explain.


Overall, why are cooking and fundraising alike anyways? Both cooking and fundraising are fundamentally about understanding a process. Exact measurements are not needed. Meaning, in fundraising, there’s definitely not a one sized fits all approach. In fact, once you understand the skills, qualities and processes with fundraising you can apply them to get a consistent offering.


So, let’s talk about building our fundraising dinner party:


First we have to prep the ingredients:

-Our budget

-Our organization

-Our goals


Our budget calls for us understanding the fundamental needs of our organization. We look for opportunities to maximize our potential each new year.


Our organization calls for us to understand our audience and their inherent needs and desires. This focus allows our small donors to continually send feedback to the organization, allowing us to optimize each donor’s potential.


Our goals are the foundation of the relationships we foster outside for our organization. Ultimately, our goals are the building blocks for success. Our message resonates with donors. Your best organization ambassadors will promote your fundraising efforts.


Next step, who are we inviting to the dinner party?


Our invites to our fundraising party allow us to rapidly add as many new donors as possible, before transitioning them into a regular cycle of giving. We have to think about what our guests want. Have they made it clear to us through other conversations? Are our guests open to a dialogue? With a little preparation, we know what messaging we are able to start with to have a successful fundraising program.


Following your fundraising recipe (somewhat):


First, the longer we practice the basics and methods the faster they are going to become second nature. After crafting your recipe, you have to taste test with your friends to make sure you are getting it just right. Take the feedback, and adjust as necessary. As you invigorate the recipe with fresh conversations, you understand the donor relationships, and the value of these individuals. Lastly, sprinkle in facts and figures; let your dinner guests know exactly what is going on within your organization. Transparency is key.


Seek to understand your rating.


Did you truly listen to your donor feedback? We have to continually adjust the ingredients within our fundraising program as we learn the successes and failures. With success, you’ll be able to keep your donors coming back, and truly communicate to who is making a difference in the bottom line for your organization.


Lastly, what are the qualities of a good fundraising chef?

  • A good chef is knowledgeable. They seek to understand who their targeted audience is, their needs and desires, and figure out what issues and causes they truly support.
  • A good chef is diligent: they continually seek feedback to adjust their recipe and ingredients as needed
  • A good chef is always flexible. Sometimes adjustments need to be made in the delivery format, the process or the time table. Are you willing to adjust to maximize your net dollars?

Why Fundraising Matters

Posted by on Feb 5, 2019 in Perspectives | Comments Off on Why Fundraising Matters


When I asked the question: Why does fundraising matter? The most common answer I got was: It’s necessary.


But why?


Fundraising fuels an organization.

 We need money to run our organizations, campaigns and our lives.

 It’s a means to an end.


So, let’s back up for just a moment. Our attitude effects the culture of our organization, and culture is pervasive. With the current sentiment, we are treating fundraising like it’s a dead end hallway. It’s necessary, but we don’t like it.


All of our organizations need funds to survive- dare I say thrive? So it’s time to change the way we talk about fund development. Let’s talk about five fresh views for fund development in 2019.


Fresh conversations bring fresh perspective.

 Fund development means consistent conversations with your supporters. Day in and day out, your organization gets the opportunity to understand the needs and wants of your supporters. In effect, you are gaining knowledge on positives, negatives and pain points within the public.

As an organization, you have to cut through the noise of the public, the media, and policy makers to enact change. Without understanding the wants immediately, it’s nearly impossible to effectively spread your cause.


In real time, you get to broadcast your message, gauge public interest,… and gain a pulse on the nation.

– Marc Ergang, Vice President



The backbone of your campaign is your supporters.


Maybe it’s obvious, but your supporters are the top ambassadors for your organization.




Fund development is critical to the health of your organization.


Donors often burn out when they cannot see the value of their impact for the organization. With an effective fund development program, your organization can show that impact in a tangible way.

So, in 2019,  conversations that link the philanthropic mission and fund development are critical- even necessary.


Build a system of giving.


Think about the choices you are currently making with your fundraising program. Is your program built on habit or strategy? Are your appeals consistently moving donors to give?


Your donor management system needs constant attention. From continually working to add new donors to your base, to talking to recurring donors, you have to give each piece of donor management system time and attention.


It’s not easy to strategically target new donors, manage your base, and continually analyze your message for effectiveness.


This year,  take command of the fundraising choices that you make. Don’t cheat your organization with non-strategic action.



If you are not taking advantage of all the fundraising opportunities that are available, then you are knowingly making the decision to limit the potential of your campaign or organization.

-Kari Stratton Janes, Managing Director of Client Services



Exert your influence on public opinion.


How exactly does an organization cut through the noise to influence the public?


In real time, your fund development program helps you gain a pulse on the nation. Not only will you be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your message, but you will be consistently able to improve your messaging based on your feedback from your donors.


With effective messaging, you will be able to cut through the noise to sway all channels: the public, the media, and policy makers.



Fundraising is the most effective investment that your organization can make.


Overall, pairing a strategic fundraising program with your mission is the most effective way to grow your organization in 2019. Listen to your donors, test your messages and build your system of giving. All in all, with this new mindset, go enact the change you want to see this year.


It’s Now or Never

Posted by on Oct 30, 2018 in Perspectives | Comments Off on It’s Now or Never

Maximize your remaining resources and turn out your supporters! Phones are flexible, affordable and they WORK! We have the capacity to handle your programs and we can turn them around within hours with no set-up fees. GOTV is critical and will make or break a tight race. Phones can boost turnout by at least 10% in every age and propensity demographic.

For voice calls, your universe can be split up between landline and mobile phones. For $300, your campaign has the ability to touch nearly 7,000 voters! Turnout calls are highly effective – read our recent Case Study on how calling mobiles boosted turnout in Pennsylvania. Placing multiple rounds of calls to your turnout universe in the last days of an election is always a good idea.

Text programs can be done in the last few days. It’s been proven that text programs have the ability to lift turnout 10% in a statewide primary by sending just 3 text messages. Text benefits:

  • 90% of voters read their texts within 3 minutes of sending one.
  • Texting offers 4x the click-thru-rate of email and 16x the conversion rate.
  • In a single day, we can deploy over 30 million messages.
  • All our platforms comply with all FCC and TCPA rules, including our peer-to-peer texting platform.

Read our quick Case Study on a recent Special Election in Ohio that utilized texts.

Call us (855) FLS-4320 or email KC Jones Dennehy at to get started.

New Volunteer Connect Cell App

Posted by on Oct 11, 2018 in Product Updates | Comments Off on New Volunteer Connect Cell App

Volunteer Connect PRO is now enabled for cell phone dialing. The app is restricted to a 1:1 Call-to-Agent ratio since you are dialing cell phones. This distinction lets your volunteers legally dial cells.

One Project

The platform automatically splits one data file into cell and landline portions, allowing an admin to build 1 project, while staying making legal calls to each. The same login is used between both our landline and cell app. Instead of two projects, this recent update allows the user to create just one project.

On Hold Music & Practice Mode – We heard you! We now have on-hold music for your volunteers as well as the same Practice Mode section so your volunteers can be comfortable before making that first call.

Absentee/Early Vote Suppression

  • Call projects can be set up to suppress Absentee and Early Voters for a specific election in real-time.
  • In some case, the AB/EV feature can be used to suppress voters who have an AB/EV returns in previous elections.

Same Great Product

  • Apple/Android device compatible
  • Our apps use the most up-to-date RNC voter model scores and absentee data
  • Real-time support always available with Intercom in Data Center
  • Data visualization reporting tools & automatic survey results
  • Assign callers to regions and calling goals

Contact Us to get started.

GOTV TEXT OH-12 Special

Posted by on Aug 8, 2018 in Studies | Comments Off on GOTV TEXT OH-12 Special

The Story:

FLS was glad to be a part of Troy Balderson’s efforts in Tuesday’s special election!  On last look and according to multiple sources*, Balderson leads O’Connor by 1,754 votes, or just under one percent of all votes cast.

How We Did It:

From phone calls to peer to peer texting and other services, FLS provided the direct contact resources to help in this tight race.  While some companies can make calls, and others can send mass texts, we use our entire suite of services seamlessly to directly connect to voters and help our clients win.  Our newest product, our peer to peer texting program allows a campaign to text a list of cell phones that complies with opt-in laws. In this case, we sent over 150,000 GOTV messages to high value voters. Delivery rate was greater than 93%. Check out the program below:


When victory hangs in the balance, don’t look back and wish you had done more to turn out your voters. Partner with FLS for a strategic mobile GOTV plan. We can take care of your needs by harnessing our complete suite of products to contribute to overall victory.


  • Texting offers 4x the click-thru-rate of email and 16x the conversion rate.
  • Direct contact, including texting and calling, is a powerful channel for reaching and communicating with voters.
  • With link tracking, see who clicked (or didn’t) – and follow up to increase engagement.
  • Personalize text and voice messages by using the recipient’s first name or other important info.
  • In a single day, we can deploy over 30 million messages in addition to over 30 million calls.
  • All our platforms comply with all FCC and TCPA rules, including our peer-to-peer texting platform.
  • Approximately 55% of households are now wireless only with that percentage increasing 3-3.5% per year!

You cannot ignore wireless only households in your budget and still expect victory!

Dialing Cell Phones – PA-18 Case Study

Posted by on May 17, 2018 in Studies | Comments Off on Dialing Cell Phones – PA-18 Case Study

In an even split A/B test for the 2017 PA elections where half the turnout universe received a cell phone call and the other half did not, turnout increased in all age groups, frequencies and calculated party.

FLS Email Rentals

Posted by on May 16, 2018 in Product Updates | Comments Off on FLS Email Rentals

FLS has more than 1.7 million active email addresses available to rent with more added monthly. You tell us your goal, send us copy and we’ll do the rest. Per send and revenue sharing options available. More info and pricing below in our one pager.

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Constituent Connect

Posted by on Mar 16, 2018 in Memos | Comments Off on Constituent Connect

Take advantage of our omni-channel advocacy approach by contacting, educating and activating your supporters for any advocacy project by using our Letterdesk, Patch Call, or Townhall options. See more about each on our one pager below.

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