Gather Ye Data — Just Be Sure to Use It Well
That first means getting it together — and keeping it together — on the data front. Then we need to make meaningful use of that data in a way that is invisible to donors, otherwise they’ll perceive it as fake and insincere.
A recent letter from Laura Bush on behalf of the Republican National Committee contains a wonderful example of what I mean by data-usage invisibility. The baronial package contains a birthday card the first lady is asking me to sign and return in time for her to give it to the president.
It’s a classic offer, and the copy is beautifully written. But one line in particular shows me, as a donor, that Laura Bush seems to know and appreciate me:
During the past seven years, you have proven yourself to be a dedicated and loyal friend of the President through your support of his Administration and your steadfast commitment to the Republican Party.
Because I’ve been a member of the Republican National Committee since 2001, I’m fairly certain the seven years she refers to is a nice use of the date of first-gift data in my donor record, phrased naturally in the sentence. In the event it’s a coincidence and she’s talking about how long they’ve occupied the White House, however, I still contend it’s an excellent example of how we as fundraisers can use donor data seamlessly to increase loyalty.
A fatal flaw
I also was really impressed by an offer I received from Jerry Falwell Ministries, though like the e-mail invitation to come test-drive the notebook computer I’ve been using for a month, it’s fatally flawed.
The letter is brilliant. It begins:
There is nothing like being a dad.
Recently, on the night before my daughter Natalie’s 8th birthday, she came to me and said, “Daddy, do you know what I want for my birthday?”
I must admit, for a moment, I kind of panicked. Shari and I had already purchased her birthday gifts. What if she wanted something we hadn’t thought of?
My fears were quickly alleviated when she said, “I want a five minute cuddle.”
Then she crawled into my arms and we simply sat together.
Like I said, there’s nothing like being a dad.