And the Survey Says: You score points with donors when you let them know you're listening
You matter. You have significance. You are important. You are wanted and valued.
That's what donors hear loud and clear if you do a good job. No matter what subject you write about, that's your subtext. You're giving them a sense of belonging and the chance to feel good about being on the team that is steadily moving the needle of progress forward.
We can and should tell donors all these things, often, in as many ways as we can. But we can also show them with involvement devices that say to them, "Your thoughts and ideas, your concerns, and your vision are things of interest to me."
One classic offer goes by many names: the survey, the ballot, the opinion poll, the questionnaire, etc. Because we human beings tend to be an opinionated lot, survey packages are fairly popular and a good old standby for many mailers. Too many aren't living up to their potential, however.
A peeve and a pitfall
- Don't just slap a deadline on your survey. Yes, deadlines are good; we know that. But a return due date or ìwithin 10 daysî by itself is weak. Why is your survey time-sensitive? Make your explanation believable, and your deadline is more credible. Judicial Watch has a nice line, for example: "Since we make special arrangements for the timely processing of your answers, I hope you can complete your Survey and return it to us within 10 days."
- Don't make it look like too much work. There's no universal right answer on how many questions are ideal — that's something you have to test to find what works best for you. But whatever the number of questions, your survey should appear easy to fill out quickly. The last thing you want is for your donors to set it aside to deal with later — because "later" doesn't happen.
- Don't formulate hyperbolic questions. The less believable your survey or poll is, the more it descends into direct-mail gimmickry.
Now, beyond what not to do, here's a look at some interesting offers of late.