Lesson from VW – TLC for Donors If You MUST Drop A Charity Program

Lesson from VW – TLC for Donors If You MUST Drop A Charity Program

If one of the organizations listed in my Will were to suddenly drop one of the programs I believe in, I might have to re-think my choices. There’s a lesson or two for fundraisers in how Volkswagen communicated with customers when they stopped production of the Westfalia (Kombi) camper van after more than 30 years. How would your long-time donors feel if your organization suddenly dropped one of the programs they’ve supported over the years? And what steps would you take to ensure their continued support? If you’re not a Westy owner yourself, you may not know that owners have a very personal attachment to the VW Bus. We even identify with other owners, waving at eachother when we pass on the highway. Life is good when you own a Westy. And as Westy owners we each have our own positive association with our vans. I even spent a week of my honeymoon in the mountains camping in our Westy! The Volkswagen company understands this attachment. And when they ceased production of the Westfalia camper van, they did something very special. They sought out loyal and longtime owners. They found out what mattered to each of them and how they identified with their vans. And they created customer experiences and gifts for each of them – mementos, photographs, memories. And then they made a touching video of it all and shared it with Westy fans. Like Westy owners, your donors also have a personal link to the work that your organization does. Many of your long-time donors likely have a very personal reason why they are “touched” enough to support the...