Disaster fundraising for The Salvation Army is a world unto itself. It doesn’t follow the usual rules and expectations of everyday fundraising. So it’s not surprising that some durable myths have grown out of the successes and failures in this unique arena.
Disaster Fundraising Myth No. 1
Sending Disaster Appeals Will Sink Your Retention of Non-Disaster Donors
There’s a perception out there that sending disaster appeals will cause a drop in the retention of the non-disaster donors who receive them. Another perception is that sending disaster appeals will cause substitutional giving, meaning regular donors who give to disaster appeals will fail to give to other, non-disaster appeals. Fortunately, neither is the case.
Disaster Fundraising Myth No. 2
You Can’t Reactivate Lapsed Donors with Disaster Appeals
Conventional wisdom says that disasters aren’t good opportunities for reactivating lapsed donors, and that only established donors should be approached, because they’re already familiar with the nonprofit and its work.
Disaster Fundraising Myth No. 3
Donors Who Give to Disasters Don’t Generate Any Real Value
If you ask many fundraisers, they’ll tell you that most donors who give to disasters are giving small, impulse gifts. Our analysis found just the opposite.
By understanding the strategies and tactics that are unique to disaster fundraising, nonprofits can reach donors who are motivated to give to disasters and cultivate those donors so they continue giving, all while providing other support to the organization. The nonprofit, the donor, and the disaster survivors all win.
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