Charity Abate, CFRE / February 28, 2018

You’ve got the passion for your cause. What’s more, you know others are interested and want to get involved. You’re excited about the successes you’ve experienced so far and the support that’s been raised. But you know you can do more — and need to do more — to fulfill a big vision. You need more donors, more funds, more time in the day to do it all…. You’ve thought about hiring professional help. But it seems like a big step. You don’t want to let go, and you wonder … “would we end up paying someone else to do something I’m quite capable of doing myself?”

When revenue growth isn’t keeping up with your vision for change and desire for greater impact, it’s likely time to consider an agency to support your fundraising team. Hiring an agency can free you up to focus on fulfilling your organization’s mission and help to build your base of support for future revenue streams. Sure, it’s an investment — but it’s one that can generate significant returns and help your organization create a bigger impact.

If you’re still on the fence, here are our top 6 reasons to hire a fundraising agency today.

1. Increase revenue by focusing your fundraising time and attention on major donors. Pareto’s principle holds that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your donors. You need to be laser-focused on the most valuable donor relationships, and this important work cannot be outsourced. Tapping the expertise of a direct response fundraising agency to cultivate the balance of the donor file frees you to invest more time in higher touch, personalized cultivation and stewardship plans to maximize giving from your top donors. A full-service agency can also help you identify other individuals who are able and most likely to give at higher levels.

2. Maximize revenue and retention of middle and lower-value donors with an optimized fundraising strategy.  Direct response fundraising agencies are highly experienced in what works and what does not work in broad-based communications. Seasoned professionals can help you craft a plan that leverages the best aspects of multiple channels to generate results via integrated campaigns that utilize direct mail, email, phone, social media and other online platforms. Agency staff can help you target messages to those most likely to give, tailor content and offers to effectively engage your donors, and ask at the right time and in the right way to facilitate ease of giving.

Additionally, your agency has access to some of the best tools and technology for campaign execution, saving you from the need to directly invest in the latest and greatest. For example, you may have a good donor management system that allows you to store data and track activity. And the agency may have predictive modeling capabilities to apply better insights and more effectively identify the most likely responders to your upcoming campaign — making your marketing dollars work smarter for you.

3. Boost your return on investment. Sure, in-house creative teams might seem to cost less. But do they really? By engaging a direct response fundraising agency, you tap into a variety of subject matter experts and multiple skill sets — copywriting, design, analytics, production, list and media services, etc. — that ultimately drive stronger results. You get the benefits of this expertise without adding fixed costs for salary and benefits. You can manage your costs to stay in right (and better) proportion to revenue. Furthermore, an agency’s work with other nonprofits gives them learnings and experiences to share with you so that your organization doesn’t have to bear all the costs associated with testing. You get to capture all the benefits, though!

4. Expand your donor base for continued growth. Having major donors on board is important, and one big gift can really make a difference! But long-term success also requires diversified funding sources, including a large base of consistent support and a pipeline for future major gifts. Fundraising agencies bring the expertise of how to identify and acquire new donors that will yield long-term value. It’s the agency’s job to source the most effective and efficient tools, technology and opportunities for your organization. Your trusted agency advisors tap into powerful analytics to help you know how much to invest to acquire a donor based on long-term value, ensuring your investment is right-sized and your ultimate return on investment is solid.

5. Diversify your fundraising mix for long-term, sustainable growth. Like an investment portfolio, your fundraising program will be most stable when it includes a variety of components — a mix of initiatives that generate smaller but immediate returns, and those that reap more significant returns but take a longer time to cultivate or a greater initial investment. Your agency can help guide your organization in understanding the potential return from each activity and the investment required to pursue each of them, while assessing your institutional resources and capacity to do so.

For example, cultivating planned gifts is a long-term effort. Both the timing and the value of the returns can be difficult to predict. But by diligently working now to promote opportunities for donors to give through their will or other future gift plans, you’ll be sure to receive a steady flow of planned gifts in the years to come. Even if you know this, it can be challenging to present the case for allocating today’s marketing dollars here when immediate needs are also demanding. Your fundraising agency can help!

6. Position yourself to capture future revenue by seizing the right opportunities. A fundraising agency makes it their business to know current giving trends, new mindsets and giving priorities for the upcoming generation, and emerging technologies to better reach donors, effectively engage with them, and more easily capture their gifts. This expert counsel will help you know which opportunities to pursue and how to most effectively do so. Agency staff can also help you launch new fundraising initiatives.

With these 6 reasons in mind, we encourage you to develop a strong partnership with an agency you can fully embrace. Ultimately, it’s the winning combination of your in-house knowledge coupled with your agency’s outside perspective and skill sets that leads to true success.

We’d love the opportunity to help you achieve the fundraising success you desire. If you’d like to learn more about the ways Meyer Partners can help your organization raise more money and increase impact, please contact us at or (312) 635-7001.