TrumpKellyanne Conway will go down in history as a genius pollster who saw an opening in the data that no one else seemed to understand. This opening allowed her boss, Donald J. Trump, to win an unprecedented political victory.

Here are three things you can learn from her as a fundraiser:

1. Look for the hidden, undeserved and possibly even forgotten people in your database.

Chances are, you are losing about half of your donors every year. First time donors drop off at an even higher rate, often as much as 85%.

Many organizations define an “active donor” as anyone who hasn’t given in the past year. This is a critical mistake. Donors don’t count themselves out of supporting you until at least 36 months, data show. They are working on the assumption that they’ve given to you more recently than they actually have.

Use all of this to your best advantage by mining your own data to find the donors you might not target with your newsletter, magazine and barrage of impersonal mailings.

Then address them by name and giving occasion and find a way to re-connect them to your cause. This strategy has been proven to yield new dollars for our clients while deepening relationships.

2. Throw out your assumptions now and then, and go with your gut.

Yes, read all the best practices, study the research and do your best to run a fundraising operation based on the “science”. But never forget that at its core, what we do is also an art form. Instincts count.

This is where the Advocace team has really helped many Christian organizations make progress. The numbers will get you only so far. Just because something hasn’t been done before, it doesn’t mean it’s not time to try. Especially with social media and email, where the initial investment is usually much lower than mailing, try something new or even risky now and then. You have to break new ground. Prayerfully ask God to show you how.

3. Connect with how people really feel and you’ll almost always be able to motivate them.

Kellyanne Conway had a hunch. Looking beyond the polling data, she did a deep dive on how people felt about the nation’s direction. She actually talked to people and listened. This is a pattern we should emulate with our donors.

What are people really saying?

How are they really feeling?

And most importantly: What do you get from God when you pray about the direction of your ministry? People aren’t numbers and donors aren’t cows to be milked. They are conduits of God’s provision for the work He has called us to do. How can we listen to them more closely so we can motivate them by meeting their needs?

God is in control. Ultimately, we can trust Him to provide for our ministries as long as we are carrying out His will. Christian Stewardship simply means aligning ourselves with his plan and allowing Him to use us to grow the Kingdom one cheerful giver at a time. Sometimes, the unexpected, the bold, the act of faith is what He is calling us to in order to shower us with blessing and bring glory to His Name.

My prayer is that you are open to being courageous, but if you need to talk about these ideas or just want a sounding board, I’d like to offer you a free consultation. Just call us at (972) 304-1100 or contact us online by clicking here.

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