The Nonprofit Sector’s Most Pressing Issues: The C-Level Exec’s Point of View, Part 3
According to Tandon, the biggest thing missing for smaller, local charities is donor data at the local level. Most of what’s out there is on the aggregate level. “Local level donor data is very helpful. Getting that is a dream in my eye.”
A member in the audience from Amnesty International said her organization is changing the way it communicates to be more donor-centric and asked for advice on how to do that. “We’ve got to start knowing our donors,” Harrison said. “We’re trying to change our donors instead of listening to them.”
“Take every opportunity to listen to the donor and what he’s saying … and have everyone do it,” McGregor said. Everyone at Greenpeace takes calls, does street canvassing, touches donors at every turn to hear what people are saying. Then those insights are spread around to everyone at the organization. “Current donors can be self-fulfilling. Talk to potential donors, too,” McGregor said. “Everybody should be listening. The mistake is often [that] just the two people running the campaign or program listen.”
Food For The Poor makes its fundraisers travel to the communities it serves so they know firsthand what they're asking for. Similarly, all fundraisers should have contact with donors to learn why they are giving, Aloma said. Here are some more tips from Aloma:
- Don’t believe a donor who says he doesn’t want to be thanked. Thank him anyway.
- Pay closer attention to behaviors and actions than words.
- Learn to listen between the lines.
- Know what your unique selling point is.
- Be honest in what you’re doing.
- Get to know your donors as best as possible and how to communicate with them usefully.
“Rule of thumb: Know the gender mix of donors — more than 50 percent are women typically,” Tandon said. “Who makes the giving decision at the household level? Many times, women make the decisions. The safe bias is speaking to women.”