IFC Roundup: New Challenges Facing Direct-marketing Fundraisers
[Stephen Pidgeon is chairman of Target Direct, a direct-mail fundraising agency in Gloucestershire, England. At the 27th International Fundraising Congress, which was held in the Netherlands last week, he presented a session titled New Challenges Facing Direct-marketing Fundraisers. Here, he offers a synopsis of the session.]
It’s not getting any easier, but there’s still a pile of things you can do that will radically improve your direct-marketing fundraising.
However, fundraisers of the future will have to put in considerably more effort to achieve the same and better results — and that means improving the supporter experience in much the same way that commercial companies invest in the customer experience. Unfortunately, direct-marketing fundraisers (let alone the rest of their organisations) don’t seem to grasp the importance of this investment.
Fundraisers consistently fail to get the right information from their databases. They mass-mail most of their databases most of the time. Why? Because they are driven by short-term finances and don’t have the influence in the organisation to insist on proper investment in supporter research and development. Most are blind to the recruitment of supporters other than through traditional means — cold lists, inserts, door-drops and so on. Very few have programmes that are designed truly to delight the supporter, remove unwelcome pressure to donate and make the supporter feel part of the great enterprise that is the work of the charity.
Among the ideas for improving the supporter experience that we discussed in the New Challenges Facing Direct-marketing Fundraisers:
* offering choice to supporters and allowing them to control when or how often the charity contacts them;
* genuinely asking for their views, not with the rubbish questionnaires used in recruitment but actively seeking to involve them in key issues that affect the charity; and
* inviting even “ordinary” direct-marketing supporters to join a group of influencers such as a CEO’s Panel or a Chairman’s Forum.