Book Review: ‘Donor CARE’ by the Late John Haydon
What a tremendous legacy John Haydon left us with his book, “Donor CARE: How to Keep Donors Coming Back After the First Gift.” Sadly, Haydon passed away earlier this year. While I never had a chance to meet him in person, we did talk by phone a few times. He had an amazing following with thousands of people attending his webinars and reading his blogs.
Haydon’s quest was to explain how to keep donors coming back after the first gift. This is probably the biggest mystery we fundraisers are trying to solve. And Haydon’s book is helping us do just that.
Research from many sources, including your own database, shows that once a donor makes a second gift, they immediately become more loyal. They’ll stay with you longer, and they’ll give more money. Research also shows that more engaged donors are more likely to upgrade, convert to sustainers and leave you their ultimate gift from their will.
Haydon’s book explains that you can get that second gift in a very simple, easy-to-read and easy-to-understand way. He includes many examples and very practical ways nonprofits can apply the various stages of donor CARE: connect, appreciate, reply and encourage.
After all, our donors are human beings, and isn’t that what we all want and need? We need to connect, especially now during the pandemic. We need to be appreciated. We need to hear back if we call, or email, or write. We need to be encouraged and receive confirmation. These are basic human needs.
But yet, too often we find nonprofits that are worried about posting a contact phone number or email address on their website. They don’t want to list their information on their letters. They worry if a donor calls to complain about something.
Stop! Let’s change your mindset and make receiving that call a good thing, because it’s the opportunity to make it right. It may be too late for that one donor, but it’s certainly not too late for other donors in the future. And you may be pleasantly surprised. If a donor calls, that means they CARE, too.
Fundraising means working with people. Fundraising means looking to find friends for life. That’s why I was delighted that Haydon devoted part of his book to finding monthly donors. The CARE principles Haydon describes can be applied to monthly donors as well.
I highly recommend Haydon’s book not just to fundraisers, but especially to those who sit on the sidelines and often throw their opinions at us without looking at the total picture.
The CARE principles should permeate every organization and when it does, you’ll find that you’ll keep many more donors and get more donors to make the second gift, the third gift and so on.
I’m going to end with a quote from Haydon’s book, because I think it particularly applies to the fundraising hesitations heard from so many fundraisers and others in organizations over the past few months.
“Having good friends is like being equipped with a powerful auxiliary engine. When we encounter a steep hill or an obstacle, we can encourage each other and find the strength to keep pressing forward.” — Daisaku Ikeda
If you practice the CARE principles John describes, you’ll know you have the good friends you can reach out to. You’ll know they’re willing to help. You’ll be able to make your donors feel connected and appreciated. You’ll be able to express the difference your donors are making. It’s what stays with the donor for the long run. It will benefit your organization and especially those you serve for the long run!
Do yourself a favor and read this book. It took me about two hours to read. And then pass it on to someone in your organization who can benefit from it by understanding how to help you CARE for your donors even more.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.