Mistakes Creep In — Always Be Alert for These 2
The e-mail was a very personal note written by the woman I had met with to discuss a fundraising campaign. She talked about the campaign and invited me to support it. Her e-mail built on the personal relationship we have, gave specifics about the campaign and what it will accomplish, and created excitement. So what is my complaint?
She asked for a gift, but my previous donation had never been acknowledged. No receipt. No nice thank-you message. All I received was an e-mail about my ticket purchase with a section labeled “Order Detail” that included a line labeled “Donation Amount.” A great opportunity to start building a relationship had been squandered. Imagine how much more likely I would be to send in a gift in response to this recent e-mail if I had gotten a warm, personal-feeling e-mail when I gave a gift five weeks earlier.
In case you’re wondering, since this person had asked for my guidance in the group’s fundraising, I did send an e-mail and tell her of my concern. She immediately sent a reply, deeply apologetic and explaining that the organization’s service bureau had assured that it was working correctly — but clearly it wasn’t. Within a half hour of that reply, I had an e-mail acknowledgment, and I received a lovely, written thank-you within five days.
The moral from this Old Dog: Never assume systems are working. Always check and check again. Mistakes creep in and software glitches show up for no reason known to us non-technical types, so always validate your systems to be sure they are doing what you expect them to do.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.