The old adage goes “ask and you shall receive,” but is there ever a point where you’ve asked too much of your donors, making them feel that you only want their money and potentially alienating them from your cause?
In “Donors Aren’t Your ATMs: Build Brand, Relationships, and Revenue with Innovative Donor Stewardship,” the answer is yes for most nonprofits.
Led by John Graves, Eidolon Communications, Margaret Cohen, Population Services International, and Alia McKee, Sea Change Strategies, this session at the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference delved into the art of saying thank you and inviting your donor to learn more, rather than sending them a barrage of asks every day of the month.
The trio gave the following advice for communicating and forming a relationship with your donors:
- More than 80% of thank you letters are perfunctory, impersonal, and vague. Utilize storytelling in your thank you letters just as you would in your asks.
- 53% of lapsed donors attribute their lapses to a lack of communication. Sending donors opportunities to learn more and “just for you” emails without an ask help build a relationship with donors beyond writing and receiving checks.
- While you should still be asking frequently, providing a small pause after thanking donors for their donations allows both parties to recoup before moving forward.
- Donors want to know what you’re doing with their donation; keeping them in the loop makes them feel like their donation is really making an impact.
- Measure the response to changes in your marketing campaign through data and anecdotal feedback to find the right balance for your organization.