Those of you lucky enough to have attended an international fundraising conference will hopefully agree with me: despite facing unique environmental challenges in our respective markets; despite having a very different understanding of what constitutes food; despite speaking different languages – including our American friends who are yet to discover English – we find it immensely valuable to share our fundraising learnings. I’ve gleaned much more from this experience than I expected. I really didn’t expect so much information to be transferable across borders.
I’d like to share some of the donor stewardship take-aways. None of them are new, but it’s very helpful to be reminded of their potential and to know that their effectiveness is universal. With any luck you will see some value in these. I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.
1. Encourage charities to collect all data – including complaints and questions
o Donors who phone or mail with a grievance or question are often passionate supporters and details of their communication with the charity should be recorded and used
o For example, preferences for particular premiums, areas of the charity’s work, reasons for supporting, a grandchild’s name etc.
o Complaints and questions can and should be followed-up with a low involvement action designed to engage them further with the cause
o We could design an off-the-shelf survey with questions about their satisfaction with the experience and thank them for their concern
2. Encourage response by re-sending the donor the premium they were recruited on
o This is the premium that is most likely to motivate them – particularly true with lower value donors who are more likely to be those most incentivised
o Use as an anti-attrition tactic – perhaps on the anniversary of their recruitment
o Premiums are consumable items which need to be replaced after a period of time
3. Use the welcome pack to outline what the mailing cycle will be
o If a donor understands the process and is encouraged to be part of it, will it increase loyalty?
o It might make donors feel that they’re not obligated to respond. If they don’t feel obliged they might be less likely to feel harassed and therefore more encouraged to read the letter (and subsequently donate)
o Would this strategy improve long-term value?
Very keen to hear your thoughts.