Donors Need to Be Reminded That You Need Them
I received a year-end mailing a few days ago; it was a catalog that offered various program needs for me to help meet by sending a donation. Unfortunately, the copy on all 28 pages was about 9-point type, and it was reversed out of color — including white type reversed out of light mustard yellow. The end result was nearly impossible for a 50-something to read. Lesson: Unless your target audience is in its 20s and 30s, use a minimum of a 12-point type and only reverse out headlines or a short block of copy. The readability factor must be considered above the "great design" factor.
Question 2: Are we constantly making a good case to give?
Donors forget. They aren't focused on our mission 24/7. So we have to remind them — over and over — that we are doing important work and their gifts are needed and do make a difference. Newsletters should report on the great progress but also reaffirm that the job isn't done and there is more we can do. Direct mail and e-appeals should ask for a specific amount to do a specific thing.
The days of "trust us; we'll take your gift and use it wisely" are gone. Donors are skeptical. Unfortunately, it seems that scandals in the nonprofit industry have a shelf life that exceeds that of peanut butter. So treat every communication as your first and only chance to lay out the case for support.
Question 3: Do we have alternatives for people who complain about hearing from us too much?
"All or nothing" is no longer an acceptable set of options. With computers to help us manage donor preferences, we can offer a wide range of options, from quarterly mail, newsletters only, no phone calls, or another arrangement that you can manage and that will please the donor who raises this concern.