Is This You? Are You Sure?
Let’s make 2007 a year of fearless self-examination, shall we? I’m not talking about checking out your ’do every time you pass a mirror or even about those all-important preventative health self-exams that we’re all supposed to be doing. What I am talking about is eyeballing your organization from a potential supporter’s point of view. Make contact with your organization. Send an e-mail inquiring about its mission. Try to call someone in the upper administrative echelons. Try to find out about your organization’s financial details.
Try to gather information from your organization’s Web site. Try to make a donation. Spell something incorrectly or leave out some information, and see what happens.
Once you make a donation, notice how you’re treated immediately after the transaction is made, after a day or two, after a few months, over the course of the year.
And do it all under an assumed identity. Get into your organization’s system and see what happens to your name. What kind of communications do you get from your own organization? What other kinds of organizations or companies contact you using that specific information? Make requests about communications — please contact me via e-mail only; call me only before 6 p.m.; do not sell, rent, trade or give my name to anyone else — and see what happens.
I’m on this rant because I had a less-than-terrific online experience with a highly reputable, recognizable healthcare organization that does magnificent work and should be on the cutting edge of donor relationship management techniques. It at least should know how not to tick off potential supporters.
I’m not good about writing checks or, more precisely, keeping track of the checks I write. And I never have a stamp when I need one. Somewhere in my home is a pile of never-sent pieces of mail that includes everything from parking tickets and utility bills to magazine renewals and, unfortunately, charitable donations.