Drive #DonorLove from the Bottom Up

Drive #DonorLove from the Bottom Up

If you’re not “the boss” and feel like you’re the only one who recognizes the need for your organization to be more donor-centred, can you influence change? Yes! Absolutely. You can be a Donor Advocate. You are a major stakeholder in moving the org towards focusing more on donor interests, concerns, needs, passions. You know that the happier donors are, the more money you and the organization will raise, the more successful you can be at your job, and the happier you will be. And you can share in the joy of changing the world for the better. Here’s a simple plan to influence change: 1. Take a leadership interest in donor stewardship. Be curious. Constantly ask questions of your colleagues. Find out how which donors the direct marketing team targets – who do they mail or call? Who do they exclude? Do they respect donor requests not to receive mail?  Who welcomes new donors? Provide your colleagues with any donor feedback you might have. 2. Set an example. For example, if your key function is to enter gift data into the database and you notice that a donor has given a much larger gift than in the past – pick up the phone and call to spontaneously say “Wow! Thank you so much!” If you see a donor in the reception area, pause to greet her/him and express appreciation for her/his support. 3. Show colleagues you care about donor retention. Work collaboratively with colleagues to improve overall stewardship. For example, if no-one else is nurturing known planned giving donors, make it your mission to do so. If there is a...
Another Donor Complaint – So Who Cares?!

Another Donor Complaint – So Who Cares?!

The Donor cared enough to complain. And if you have any interest in raising funds for your cause, you HAVE to care! Here’s why: Take a look at the percentage of net revenue (i.e.“profit”) that comes from your existing donor pool. Unless you’ve just had an ice-bucket challenge, you are raising substantially more net revenue from your existing donor pool than you are from first time donors. You need to keep as many donors as possible. Non-financial transactions like complaints are a good indicator of loyalty. (If you have a “complaints database” or record donor-initiated human interaction in donor records, you’re sitting on a gold mine!) It’s generally five (or more) times more expensive to replace an existing donor with a new one, than to keep an existing donor. According to research conducted by Professor Adrian Sargeant, if you can resolve the complaint to the donor’s satisfaction immediately, 82 – 94% will make a subsequent donation. Even if the donor complains and you aren’t able to resolve the problem to the donor’s satisfaction, 18 – 47% will give again. (Read this and other essential information for increasing lifetime value in Building Donor Loyalty by Adrian Sargeant and Elaine Jay) Word of mouth is powerful. Apparently a dissatisfied donor will tell 10 others. BUT people who have their complaint resolved will tell 4 – 5 people about it.   WORRY ABOUT DONORS WHO DON’T COMPLAIN. Research conducted by Professor Adrian Sargeant show that of donors who have experienced a problem with a nonprofit and don’t complain, only 8 – 31% of them will ever make another donation (8% if it...
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...