It's Time to Call Your Organization
I just came back from the International Fundraising Congress, which was held last week in Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands. It’s always a great time to visit my family who live near the German and Belgian border in the south.
I was able to attend a great session on donor love with Jen Love of Agents of Good and Simon Scriver. I’d heard of them, but now I actually got to meet them—pretty neat!
The session includes lots of great tips and examples of how to keep treating your donors the right way. And oh, by the way, that does mean sending a “thank you” letter or card in the mail—no matter how the donor gave to you. Email receipts are really not enough.
The best part of the session was when Simon told the attendees he’d like to make a donation to an organization by calling them. They’d have to be able to speak and understand English, so he could actually communicate his desire to make a donation. Three brave organizations volunteered.
The results were very sad.
The first two were not able to manage his request for some reason. Either they didn’t know who’d be able to take a call like this, or they told him that they could not take his information. Yikes! If you have a website, you should be able to take someone’s information and process a donor calling in.
Anyhow, the third organization Simon called did exactly that. The person answering the phone knew who to refer Simon to right away. She answered, took his information over the phone (even though it did take a little while), she thanked him several times during the process and told him what was going to happen next.
Why am I bringing this up? Because the No. 1 reason why donors stop giving monthly is because they can’t get through to someone who can help them. Whether it’s a change, a stop or just answering a question.
So I recommend you do what Simon did: Call your own organization (or have someone else do it), say you’re a monthly donor who has a question and see what happens. And test the same with making a donation. Donor service is crucial—for any size and type organization—especially now in busy giving season.
So, call your organization now. It only takes a few minutes, but it could last your organization a lifetime!
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.