To put it simply, Cygnus' research works! This year we set our fundraising goal 10% higher, which was ambitious. But, we applied all that we learned from Penelope and Cygnus on being donor-centered, and pulled it off. In fact, we raised 18% more than last year. As an added bonus, our volunteers are feeling great about their achievement and several have already offered to make asks in next year's campaign.
The most obvious value of Cygnus' research is that it gave us an objective validation of what our donors think. This is especially important in light of the increasing cost pressures and the ever-present need to be sure we are using donor communication resources in the most effective way to influence
Cygnus' research reminded us that our donors don’t give just because they like our organization – they want to improve children’s lives, and they expect us to tell them how their gift is making a difference.
We were delighted to learn that our major donors loved us and that our communications were “spot-on” with them. But we were even happier to learn that if we tweaked communications to those at the lower levels, our major gift base would grow. We are now paying more attention to stewarding all donors and as recommended, targeting our appeals to be more specific to those smaller donors, who will surely be our future major gift friends.
I've always wanted to have real data that comes straight from our own donors. Cygnus' research has been invaluable in helping us allocate resources to more productive strategies.
We learned through the survey Cygnus conducted that the time and money we were spending on publishing donors’ names did little to further engagement or increase gift values. We used what we learned from Cygnus to shift our much needed budget dollars to strategies that were significantly more meaningful to our donors.