This week is all about your donors: keeping them; communicating with them, taking care of them and meeting them where they are. I’ve got several really useful articles for you. Not too many. It’s summer, after all! Plus, as always, some terrific upcoming learning opportunities for you.
Click-It: 46 things you’re doing that push your nonprofit donors away by Sandy Rees is a comprehensive list of all the ways you’re being the opposite of donor-centered or inspiring. Use this as a checklist for your (1) general communications, (2) fundraising appeals, (3) volunteer activities, (4) events, and (5) donor acknowledgements. Here are a few that are also pet peeves of mine — a taste for you (from each of the five categories above) of things not to do that you might not have thought about:
- Being mediocre. What are you doing that’s really exciting and making a difference? I don’t want to support organizations that are simply keeping the doors open. I want to be part of something that’s changing our community!
- Asking for support for your ‘Annual Fund’ or ‘Annual Campaign’. I don’t really care about those and honestly I don’t even understand what they are. Maybe you could put this into terms I can understand?
- Having committee meetings where nothing is accomplished and it’s a complete waste of my time. Please run a good meeting so we can be productive and get things done. I can’t stand meetings where we talk in a circle and never really decide on anything or get anything done.
- Not telling me how much the event raised, or telling me months afterward. After the event, I’ll be curious to know how you did. Please tell me. Oh, and don’t make me wait months to find out.
- Not providing me with a way to contact you or give you feedback. Maybe you could put the name and phone number or email of a specific person in the thank you letter. Sometimes I have a quick question and I’d love to know who to call.
Click-It: Why Direct Mail Won’t Die on the Target Marketing blog offers some fascinating research showing that comprehension is better when information is shared in print. And before you say “Well, that’s not true for millennials in this digital age,” think again. Millennials prefer print. So while social media is super important as part of your multi-channel marketing mix, don’t forgo print communications. Think of donor-prospects first and how they want to interact with your organization. There is no such thing as a single channel person — you, me, our donors, no one spends their days in just one channel or place or media.
Click-It: Jargon-aught: Unite to alleviate overused mission statements by Rick Christ on the Nonprofit Times blog discusses the tendency nonprofits have of using broad phrases, replete with jargon, to describe their missions. From a donor perspective, this makes everything as clear as mud. One example? “We alleviate the suffering…” He suggests: “Let’s alleviate the suffering of poor, confused donors. Let’s tell them exactly what we do, and give them clear choices.” Rick gets a gold star from me just for the cool title!
Click-It: Donor Stewardship Expert Advice from 29 Industry Leaders on the Nonprofit Easy blog (Note: I’m proud to have one of my tips included). You’ll get tips about listening; quality over quantity of communications; gratitude; demonstrating impact; following up; remembering to engage with donors of all levels; stewardship; using multiple channels for donor interaction; being transparent and using technology to make your donors’ lives easier. That’s a lot of advice for you – and you can get it in one fell swoop!
CAVEAT: You may not agree 100% with every piece of wisdom (I don’t), and that’s okay. What’s important is to think about these things; then do what you do with intentionality. It’s the difference between what I call “mindless” vs. “mindful” fundraising. Watch for an upcoming post from me on this subject. 😉
Click-it: Keeping It Short, Simple and Donor Centered on the Veritus Group blog offers a great reminder that you’ve got to pay attention to what your donor wants from you; not what you want to give them. Your donor needs to control the quality and quantity of the information you provide. You’ve got to listen to the cues they give you. And this post offers four ways to do so proactively. It’s good stuff.
Get Your Donors to Stay, Upgrade, and Give Year after Year: The Donor Retention Master Class. Would you like to learn a simple, step-by-step strategy to:
- Keep more donors each year?
- Get current donors to give more to your non-profit each year?
- Get your donors to refer you to their friends, colleagues, and neighbors?
Join me and my co-presenter, Joe Garecht of the Fundraising Authority, for a special, one-time-only event on July 8th. You’ll get a 90-minute live and recorded webinar, 2 Pre-Course Guidebooks and 6 Strategy Worksheets. TODAY is the last day for the early-bird discount – register now!
Creative Thank You’s: Boost Donations with an Attitude of Gratitude Join me for this free webinar with 4GOOD on Wednesday, July 1st. Learn how to create donor loyalty by giving supporters a lasting glow – all through your donor acknowledgement program. I promise you’ll get some fun ideas plus some no-nonsense fundamentals to keep you organized and on track. It will be an hour well spent. See you there?
Photo: Flickr, Isaac Torronterra
Thanks Claire for putting together these great links. I always enjoy reading this post. Today, I especially liked your mention about committee meetings where nothing gets done. I find that it’s very unusual for meetings to actually accomplish anything. Lots of talking and not much action or planning. Most people don’t really have a concept of an agenda and time limitation on time per comment.
You bet Donna. Thanks for your kind words regarding the links. And meetings can be great, but only if there’s a purpose for them. Reminds me of my favorite quote from Lewis Carroll. To paraphrase: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll very likely get there.” 😉