4 Doable Steps to Donor Love—Via Mal Warwick

Donor LoveDonor communications that connect—that appreciate, energize and activate your prospects and donors—are THE key to fundraising success. That’s nothing new.

What you may not know though, is how few organizations do donor communications well. So if that’s your organization, you’re not alone!

Now—with the release of Integrated Fundraising: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, by Mal Warwick/DonorDigital—we have proof of the ways most donor communications fail, and the impact that failure makes. If you’ve asked for resources to strengthen donor communications and have been turned down, or just haven’t found the time to tackle them, here’s the kick-in-the-pants you need.

These striking findings come from a six-month study of donor communications (both online and offline) from 16 large nonprofits, following online contributions to each. Since “multichannel donors are more loyal than single channel donors,” researchers focused on how much and how well outreach is coordinated across channels for a consistent, recognizable, satisfying donor experience.

What I love about this report is the review of what’s good, bad and ugly in multiple dimensions so we get an idea of what’s working well (i.e. what to strive for and is happening in organizations you’re competing with for donor dollars), as well as what’s not. Take a look at these findings:

  1. Thank you letters—a reliable cultivation tactic—arrive way too late or not at all: The quickest thank you letter, sent via USPS, arrived in 12 days. The slowest took 28 days. But eight of the organizations didn’t mail a thank you at all.
  2. Most donor communications content is inconsistent—in tone, message and or/graphics— across channels, so more likely to confuse and annoy recipients, than to motivate them to give or strengthen loyalty. But most organizations do reach out to donors via multiple channels.
  3. Follow-up appeals via direct mail are frequently implemented, but that second ask can be months after the initial online gift, diminishing its success rate.
  4. Sustainer programs (a.k.a. monthly giving) provide a strong base of revenue, especially during economic dips and “new online donors are highly responsive to monthly giving recruitment. But just one of the organizations researched integrated its monthly giving ask into mail and email; whereas four of them didn’t make monthly giving asks at all

There’s much more to learn in the full report, and I recommend you download it now. Wherever your organization sits now on the good, bad and ugly continuum, there’s always room to do donor communications better.

Get your copy of Integrated Fundraising: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly by Mal Warwick/DonorDigital.

How do you nurture and energize your donors? What’s the good that’s working well, or the bad or ugly you yearn to stop? Please share here.

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Nancy Schwartz on September 23, 2014 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 0 comments
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