Communicating with our donors and supporters can be a golden opportunity to convert a one-off donor into a committed lifelong supporter of our cause. The way we go about, and our success at communicating with our donors, will determine whether they keep giving and become long term supporters with the potential of leaving the ultimate gift – a bequest.
However if we lose them along the way due to lack of communication, too much communication or inappropriate communication… it’s an opportunity lost.
Some suggestions to improve your donor communications are best encapsulated in three little words… make it personal. Let me explain.
It’s all about YOU! (the donor that is)
In your communications – whether by email, letter or even a phone call – make it all about the donor, for example, ‘because of YOU and YOUR support, we were able to do this… without YOUR support it wouldn’t have happened…’ in other words, make it donor-centric!
A good way to monitor this is to do a ‘YOU’ check once the first draft of a piece of communication has been written. How many times does the word ‘you’ appear? And, comparatively, how many times does the word ‘we’ or ‘us’ appear?
Cut the jargon
What is planned giving? What is monthly giving? What is development? These are often words we use in fundraising that don’t really mean anything to our donors. Why can’t we just cut the jargon and say it like it is – bequests, regular donations, fundraising?
When we use these terms and phrases the general public really doesn’t know what we’re talking about and it can be alienating. It is not inclusive will not help us to better engage our donors (nor bring in funds).
This tip can also apply to your cause itself. Are there certain words or acronyms used in your particular sector (whether it be health, welfare or environment) that are not well known outside the sector. This often is the case if you have internal relationships with scientists, researchers, medical staff and so forth. Be sure that whatever words you choose in your communications anyone in middle Australia could read and understand it.
An oldie but a goodie: thank you!
We have covered the importance of saying thank you in this blog before, but it’s still amazing how often it is forgotten so I’m including it again.
While there are some folk who are happy to give with no recognition, most people like to be thanked. This is really a continuation of making it all about YOU, the donor, with a multitude of opportunities to bring them closer so they feel like a member of an exclusive club or like a member of your organisations family – in a good way!
And there are so many ways to say thank you! A letter to say thank you for a gift or action taken online, a call from a volunteer, especially if they are a recipient of a program such as a student scholarship program at University – that’s really bringing the benefit of their donation alive!
Send an email update with lots of photos of the current campaign that their support made happen – pictures create an emotional connection –show your donors the animals saved, the school room built, the smiling faces of children reading books donated – YOU made this happen – THANK YOU!
Keeping our donors motivated to give is an ongoing process; something that must continue, evolve and development. Let them know they matter to your cause and the difference their donations have made. It’s certainly worth it!
Do you have a few key points for making it personal? Would love you to share with us.
See you in the pond
The Fish Chick