Strength Training for Fundraisers
✔ Constantly measure donors' interest in and reactions to what they receive from you. Learn from this. Ask yourself whether or not your donors actually read what you send them.
✔ Never be dull, bland or unmoving. Communicate with passion. We have the best stories in the world to tell and the best reasons for telling them.
✔ Invest in good pictures and in people who can write compellingly, with power and passion.
✔ Design for readability.
✔ Send less, but better. Make sure what goes to donors is only good.
8. I'd make ours a listening and a hearing organization
In addition to training myself and my fundraising colleagues in how to provide appropriate yet highly professional levels of service and donor care, I'd make sure we know what our donors want and that we implement what they want us to do. I'd meet and talk to donors at every opportunity. I'd offer our donors a say in formulating our strategies. I'd encourage feedback, comments, questions and complaints. I'd regularly research our donors' views (and those of lapsed donors too), and I'd survey and measure their satisfaction.
For records I'd keep simple indices of these, which in time would become key performance indicators (or key donor indicators), the regular data I'd use to monitor and report on fundraising performance. I know I'd be ahead in this, because most fundraisers only measure their performance in terms of money received now.
In all their communications, fundraisers need to switch from monologue to dialogue. In addition to investing effort and resources into knowing and understanding their donors, they should make sure donors don't adopt a passive role but instead can readily become active participants who get as involved as possible (within their own levels of comfort). This can be achieved by offering donors genuinely interesting and worthwhile involvement opportunities, inviting donors to visit and see your work for themselves, so they really can get under your organization's skin and become not just participants but co-owners of your cause. To achieve this, you have to become a listening and hearing organization.