Why Donor Testimonials are Important
Whether you want to call it social proof, a testimonial — it doesn’t really matter. Donor’s love hearing from other donors. It helps give them that "extra" little push or nudge if you will.
This works in major gift fundraising. This works in general fundraising. It especially works with recurring giving.
If someone tells why they’re giving monthly, that will help motivate others. It will also help you as the fundraiser in developing and tweaking your recurring giving messaging. You can use it on the website. You can use it in emails. You can use it on social media. You can use it in thank you videos. You can even share it with other recurring donors. You can use it tomorrow or 6 months from now.
Getting testimonials is not hard. You can start even if you have a very small monthly donor program. But you do have to ask for it. You can do this by mail or email.
A small environmental charity had 15 recurring donors that had started organically, without much promotion yet. The new fundraiser sent a personal note with a 3x5" index card and a return envelope asking them to share why they were giving monthly. She was blown away by how many people responded, but more importantly with the reasons why. She was then able to use those to grow her program to the next level.
You can send a simple survey by email. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen several organizations do this.
One used a google sheet asking for the donor’s name, their testimonial and approval to the organization to use it. Then a few weeks later they sent a follow up email sharing the various testimonials with other monthly donors. Just think of the wonderful "ammunition" they now have to generate more monthly donors.
Another organization used a slightly more elaborate survey with a few additional questions, but the last question asked why the donor gave monthly. They too asked for permission to use the testimonial in future communications.
It doesn’t take much to create a survey like this. It doesn’t cost much to do this. You can send it to all your monthly donors, or you can send it in stages, depending upon how large your recurring giving program is.
Just think about it. How can you get more testimonials tomorrow to use next month? When and where will you use it? I can guarantee you that you’ll get some very useful information but more importantly very strong motivation from these wonderful current recurring donors. They love you and they’re committed to you. What do you have to lose by asking them why they made that commitment?
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.