Mistakes Creep In — Always Be Alert for These 2
A week ago today, I woke up to two e-mails. One was from a large for-profit company. The other was from a small nonprofit. But both made avoidable mistakes that every fundraiser needs to always be on the lookout for.
E-mail No. 1
The first e-mail was from my mobile phone provider. Two days earlier, I had dropped one line that was no longer being used. Since I had three other active lines that I left in place, I considered myself an active, loyal customer.
But the e-mail had this subject line: “Pamela, what will it take to win you back?” And the e-mail bemoaned, “It’s just not the same without you.”
Really? Where do you think I went? Aren’t three phone lines enough to assure you I am still a customer?
Lesson for fundraisers: Reaching out to lapsed donors is a great strategy. Let them know you miss them. Invite them back. Talk to them about the work they love and helped make possible.
But make sure they are really lapsed.
Is your database regularly cleaned and duplicate records merged? If a donor gives online, does that gift get added to her donor record so it’s a complete record of all giving? Are you checking white mail carefully to connect these gifts with existing names in your database when that’s accurate?
Love your lapsed donors back into the fold, but don’t irritate current donors by making the mistake made by this large communications company.
E-mail No. 2
This e-mail came from a grassroots theater group. It does great work. I have been to the theater and also advised it (pro bono) about its fundraising program because I believe in its mission. About six weeks ago, I purchased tickets to an upcoming show and included a donation equal to the cost of two tickets.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.