Here's something we bet you've never heard before: Fundraising is all about relationships, and the better you know who you are writing to when you send your fundraising letters, e-mails, tweets, etc., the better your response will be.
Shocker, huh? And here's another: Different donor segments respond in different ways to different approaches. Successful fundraisers know that nuances in messaging can mean the difference between a gift and a gaffe. Don't believe us? Try getting a donation from an animal lover with a letter that refers to her beloved pet as a "that" instead of a "who."
Here, some fundraising pros talk about messaging to specific donor segments.
by Phyllis Freedman
What do Bob Dylan, Betty White and former President Bill Clinton have in common? At ages 70, 89 and soon-to-be 65, respectively, these well-known individuals all fall into the broad group that some (unfortunately) refer to as "seniors." The first thing you should know about fundraising strategies for mature donors is to never refer to them as "seniors"! The second most important thing to know is that one size does not fit all, especially the leading- and trailing-edge baby boomers who are often quite different from each other. Here are five tips for fundraising to mature donors:
1. Throw out your long-held beliefs about this group.
Challenge your assumptions, and picture the people mentioned above when you sit down to think about how to approach mature donors. A mental picture of vibrant, active people is more accurate than an image of a frail, housebound grandma.
2. Mature donors are as time-pressed as the rest of us.
Use bullets, captions on photos and other techniques that help "skimmers" get your message without having to read the entire letter (unless they want to).