Thoughts from a Donor’s Perspective
Did you know that stakeholder interviews aren’t just part of a feasibility study process? When conducting an internal assessment, THG makes sure to include stakeholder interviews as well. And without exception, this process includes current donors to the organization we are assessing. Especially when preparing to invite supporters into an eventual capital campaign. For example, we always want to see how their experience has been as a donor, so we know how to enhance it ahead of making an ask as important as a campaign solicitation.
The answer to this question runs a broad spectrum and the discussion is often meaningful.
From what we have learned, here are some things your donors may want you to know:
- They want to opt out of some of your communications
- They appreciate anything beyond the standardized thank you letter
- They usually have some opinion on or curiosity of operations spending
They want to opt out of some of your communications
It’s important to have an integrated communications strategy that spans across several media, but we all know not everything is for everybody. To whatever extent you can, allow your donors to unsubscribe. Barraging them with every point of communication can make them feel less significant. Customizing it to their preference makes them feel relevant.
They appreciate anything beyond the standardized thank you letter
We’ve all received the thank you letter that has the e-signature. And, we understand. Your donors understand, too. But, surprising them when possible, with a little extra-ordinary communication can be a real game changer for your donor experience.
It’s likely you have a tiered communications strategy customized to the amount of giving. The largest donors or first-time donors often receive the highest touch.
Once or twice a year, create a lottery drawing of your mid-level and lower-level donors. The winners receive a letter or phone call from a board member or other high-touch outreach. You’ll be surprised at how amazing it makes them feel.
They usually have some opinion on or curiosity of operations spending
Unless they have a front row seat at your budget approval meeting of the board, donors may not understand all of the revenue streams available to your organization and/or how you are managing your overhead. More specifically, they make assumptions about the application of private support that is undesignated.
Having a communications strategy inside an annual report or even on your website can be enormously helpful in shaking out those assumptions and easing the minds of those who are developing a relationship with you.