Turn Instant Gratification Into Something Surprising
Have you noticed? Lately, when you order something through Amazon, you get an email with a picture of the item showing up in front your door. This happens as you’re hearing the delivery truck’s engine rev up to leave.
Is that cool or what? I call that instant gratification.
Often, until I open the package, I don’t even know what’s inside. There’s the surprise effect, like: “Wow, this came fast! I only ordered it yesterday.”
As nonprofits, you can’t do something quite like that. You depend on the post office — where your thank-you letter or your appeal letter can take a few days.
When I was on a recent Zoom call, answering questions about monthly giving, the topic of monthly donor welcome kits came up. Should it be digital or paper mail?
My answer was: Ideally both and add a phone call if you have the donor’s contact information. Make the new monthly donor feel special right away. Feed that instant gratification online. Then follow it up with something surprising by mail, but also ensure that it has everything the monthly donor needs in case they have questions. In my opinion, here are the three things that must be included:
- The amount of the monthly gift and when it will be charged.
- A short recap of what the monthly donor can expect, like regular updates and a tax letter.
- A contact person, name, phone number and email address in case the donor has question.
And during the monthly donor journey, create something surprising. You don’t have to make it too complicated. And it certainly doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It just needs to be something that makes the donor feel good.
How about this?
- When you get a nice message from one of the clients you helped, pop it into an email and send it as a thank-you.
- Send a video with a little virtual tour, taken from your smartphone.
- Send a video from someone in the field, taken from their smartphone. Raw, but compelling.
- Send a handwritten thank-you note or post card.
If you plan for something surprising, you’ll be able to find it. I’ll guarantee it. Just start looking for it. Even if you’re not quite able to do what Amazon does, you can come pretty close. Your (monthly) donors will thank you!
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.