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Good data collection + 6 Steps ebook = fundraising success!

Posted September 13, 2014 by Timi Paccioretti

One of the things I love most about being an Account Manager at Little Green Light is that I get the opportunity to work with some hard-working nonprofit organizations that are doing great things to better their communities. Seeing how LGL’s donor management system makes an impact on those organizations’ advancement efforts just affirms my desire to share it with the others including those I volunteer with.  This past year, I’ve had the great honor of serving on my parish elementary school board and experienced first hand the impact LGL has on a school’s advancement efforts. I thought you might like to hear our story.

St. Anthony School, like many Catholic elementary schools, does not have any paid devlopement staff.  But, that didn’t stop principal, Dr. Gene Nocera, from dedicating some of his precious time to focus on the advancement of the school. He led the charge to form a volunteer advancement committee and through a comprehensive SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), the group indentified its primary goals: to increase enrollment and decrease the church subsidy, and set upon a plan to make it happen.

It was through that SWOT analysis that we identified our starting point for decreasing the amount of subsidy the parish provided to our school: we needed to better organize our data and develop a more personal, mutil-faceted outreach effort to secure support from our community. Our first step was deciding to utilize Little Green Light to manage all of our data, consolidating more than 75 years of alumni data, school families, parishoners and past donors and their gifts into one comprehensive system.  Now we could have a clear picture of who was engaged with our school and could begin to formulate a plan to decide who to ask for what.

Our next step was to incorporate some of the recommendations from LGL’s 6 Steps to a Successful Appeal ebook. Instead of sending a generic appeal letter to everyone in our database, we segmented our data and personalized our outreach. Some of the strategies we employed were:

  • creation of multiple segments based on past giving history or affiliation (ie reunion attendees, past donors, alumni, parents. etc)
  • personalized letters to each segment, hand signed by our principal and pastor
  • each letter contained a suggested ask amount and if past donors, we included a reference to their last gift and shared how it benefited our school
  • we capitalized on two special activites occurring in our community – an alumni reunion and a matching gift challenge from one of our alumni, and created a personalized letter referencing their participation in these activities
  • we devised ways to to promptly thank our donors and keep them informed on how their gift impacted our students

The end result? With 1 month still left in our fiscal year we’ve already surpassed our ambitious annual fund goal and are working hard to continue to decrease the church’s subsidy of the school.  The proof is in the numbers – check out the progress we’ve made so far:

FY 2011


FY 2012


FY 2013


# of donors




Total gifts




Ave gift am’t




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