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Donor-centric: Keeping Donors from Feeling Alienated

By November 7, 2008March 30th, 2014Communication, Fundraising, Withisms

It’s the time of year when I receive lots of fundraising appeals via mail. I’m often asked about what to expect on the return from the mailing. It’s interesting that I’m being asked that question just about the time the mailing is going out. The better time to ask that question is immediately following when the gifts were received and we are in preparation to keep donors connected.

I just recently heard Penelope Burke speak at the Minnesota Planned Giving Conference. She’s written the book Donor Centered Fundraising based on a great deal of donor research. The following are some stats she shared with us.

Think about this information as you are receiving contributions in the coming weeks from your annual fundraising mailing:

Donor question: Once you’ve made a first contribution what would cause you to remain loyal and/or increase your giving? (Seeking retention and upward mobility.)

  • 87% said whenever they give, they wish to be acknowledged promptly and in a meaningful way
    this inspires more giving!
  • In the thank-you letter, include some confirmation of where the gift is going. Specific child … program or service.
  • Before you ask me again … I want a meaningful report on how you used the gift. So this ties into the specifics on where the gift went that you identified in the thank-you letter.

People are very sensitive to the period between when they first give and the next appeal. Donor attrition is approximately 60% in that space.

If donors don’t get what they want or need immediately, then they move on or stop giving at all for awhile.

44% said promptness alone could inspire another gift. (Within 48 hours they should receive the personal thank-you call, and within two weeks, the letter.)

My suggestion is create the plan for keeping donors connected to you with a system that keeps them engaged and informed all year long. So, start your planning for next year’s fall annual appeal right now!

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