As a fundraiser, I’m always trying to better understand donors.  Contrary to popular belief, this understanding doesn’t come from conferences or webinars.  It comes from interactions and understanding with donors!

I also better understand donor motivation and behavior from my own experiences as a donor. For example, I just had a very positive experience with a local private school.  Let me tell you the story…

I received a solicitation letter in the mail – sharing a student’s story.  A couple days later, my husband and I chatted about what we wanted to give.

Once we made a decision, I ignored the enclosed envelope and headed straight to my computer.  I went to the organization’s website, clicked a couple buttons, and made our gift online.

Immediately, I received an email confirmation.  Just a couple days later, I received a handwritten note – personalized and even referencing a prior (non-solicitation) phone conversation!  A few more days passed, and I received the official acknowledgement letter.

Wow!  Paper mail, website, email, personal note, and phone call…across all of these channels, the school communicated with me positively, consistently, and appropriately.

  • The main message of all the communication was expressed positively and warmly.
  • Each piece of communication made sense together – consistently branded.  The handwritten note and the website had a similar look and feel.
  • When I gave eletronically, I received notification electronically.  But, the school didn’t stop there – because I have a personal connection, both prior and future interactions were mentioned.  How appropriate!

The learning for me and for you? Prepare multiple channels for communication with donors – don’t assume that 1 or 2 methods is enough. Prepare your communication to be positive, consistent and appropriate for the donor!

Want a bonus learning? Count the number of times the school communicated with me.  Then, count the number of times that the communication was a solicitation.  Notice anything?

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