The Search for Sneezers: How to Find Online Fundraisers in Epidemic Proportions
Since this process is now digital, and since we can predict that 80 percent of the online donations will be raised by only 20 percent of the online fundraisers, it provides an unprecedented opportunity for fundraising organizations to identify and cultivate these online fundraising sneezers. As soon as an online fundraising campaign begins, sneezers will leave behind clues for those paying attention. They will not only register for the fundraising campaign sooner than most, but they’ll be more likely to lead an online fundraising team (if your campaign and technology allow for this). If you’ve asked your fundraisers to set an online fundraising goal, sneezers will set goals that appear impossibly high. If you can view the number of e-mails being sent from your online fundraisers, sneezers will be sending 10 times the average.
Once you’ve identified a prospective sneezer or group of sneezers, treat them differently. Don’t just send them the same blast e-mail that you’re sending to the entire online campaign. Let them know they’re special. Surprise them by having your president give them a thank-you phone call well ahead of the campaign deadline, as it will motive them to do even more!
I want to end with a final note about retention and renewal. Focus your retention and renewal efforts on your online fundraisers, not on those friends and family members who donated to them. I have seen many charities alienate their best fundraisers by over-soliciting donors brought in by those fundraisers. When I donate to my friend’s personal giving page, I’m giving to him, not to the charity or cause. If I find myself added to the direct-mail list of that charity, I’m going to let my friend know how unhappy I am. It’s certainly OK if the donor has explicitly asked to learn more about the cause, but I find that often this is not the case. Your sneezers are precious: Treat them (and their friends) with utmost care.