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The Essential Component to Creating a Killer RFP

In our recent blog, we dished out some essential components to include that’ll help you craft a killer RFP and have agencies scrambling to work with you. Nestled toward the end of our checklist lies the oft-underestimated gem: data.

While it may seem easier to skip over it, data is the backbone of your RFP and will save you more time, energy, and resources in the long run. Think of data as the scaffolding that holds everything together. Without it, you’re just shooting in the dark, relying on gut instinct instead of hard facts.

So, what kind of data are we talking about here? Well, first up, donor data: the crown jewel of your organization’s treasure trove. This is usually a sticking point for organizations, and we get it. Your donors’ privacy is paramount. But don’t worry, you can still spill the beans (well, some of them anyway) without compromising anyone’s personal information. Instead, focus on the details of their contributions—think what they gave, how they gave it, and where they gave it from.

Each morsel of information paints a vivid picture of your fundraising landscape and enables agencies to determine the health of your file, what is working, and what could use additional support. This includes:

  • Overall annual revenue: Are you raking in the dough or barely scraping by? Your selected agencies will want to know if your revenue is consistent and trending up, down, or sideways over the past few years (ideally 3-5 year span).
  • Active donor trends: Is your donor base multiplying like rabbits or disappearing like socks in the dryer? By looking at trends over the years (ideally the past 5), agencies can get a handle on what’s working and what’s not.
  • Donor retention: Are your donors sticking around? Understanding your retention rates gives agencies insight into the success of your stewardship, cultivation, and overall donor engagement.
  • Lifetime value (LTV): How much can you mine from each donor? Like a crystal ball, LTV helps agencies predict how much you can reasonably expect from each donor over their lifetime and project future growth.
  • LTV by acquisition channel: Which of your channels are pulling their weight—or are dead weight? Breaking down LTV by acquisition channel enables agencies to better refine budget projections.
  • Donor lifecycles: Are your donors in it for the long haul or ghosting you after the first date? Understanding their lifecycle helps agencies tailor their retention and conversion strategies.

Next up: campaign data. Agencies want the nitty-gritty details—the who, what, when, and how much for a minimum of 12 months. It’s like CSI: Fundraising Edition, where agencies dissect every mailing, email, and dollar spent to uncover the hidden gems and put together annual projections that will make your future campaigns shine.

Without this, agencies must rely on gut instinct or measurements gleaned from another organization who might resemble you. If you want your cost and revenue projections to give you a realistic cashflow and budgeting roadmap, providing this level of detail is critical. Some important information to provide includes:

  • What was mailed or emailed
  • How many were mailed or emailed
  • What the donor segmentation looked like
  • What the response was (including response rate and average gift)
  • What it cost

Your Uber driver can’t get you to your destination if they can’t see the road. Likewise, agencies can’t craft killer proposals that accurately reflect where you are now and recommend innovative, realistic strategies without your data. It’s quite simply the most important thing that you can provide and the key to helping agencies help you unlock your organization’s full potential.

Questions?We’d love to help.

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