After reading Knock knock! Who’s there? Opportunity! I got to thinking that New Zealand charities could be missing out when people move – I haven’t changed addresses in over eight years so haven’t completed a NZPost change of address form, but last time I saw one there was nothing like the form mentioned in Knock! Knock! Who’s there? Opportunity!; and would find it hard to see that there has been any change made, or that NZPost or any other entity has set up something to allow donors to automatically let organizations know of their change of address, other than the little card that people can fill in and post to people to advise of a change of address.
The lack of a central way to let organizations know of a change of contact details, reinforces the need for organizations to ensure that when people support them that they ask for the best way to communicate with them – is it, letter, email, txt – not only can this help reduce cost, but also helps to stay in touch with people when they move.
If organizations have an email address for supporters, it is more likely that they will be able to stay in touch, that support will be ongoing.
Living in an apartment where there’s about 10 apartments changing hands each month, the pile of mail for previous residents grows; often I’ll flick through it just to check there’s nothing among it for me, In the last month or so I’ve seen mail from several organizations – and yes, I do return it to the sender.
Among some of the mail I know there will be appeal letters, urgent requests for funding – unless the recipient gets these the organization is missing out on potential support. And, possibly more importantly, the recipient may forget about the organization.
It’s hard enough for organizations to gain and, maintain support, so making some changes to how they can communicate with current supporters is important.
When an organization gains a supporter, whether it’s through a street sign up, a mail drop, or other, it would make sense to have a box for the ‘preferred’ method of contact, my guess is those who opt for email communications would remain supporters even when they move.
A suggestion I’d like to make is, if your organization hasn’t heard from a supporter in say three months and you have their email address on file (and the supporter has agreed) send them a friendly reminder, perhaps something on the lines of a housekeeping email to verify contact details.
Something as simple as:
To ensure you’re receiving our updates, please verify we have your current contact information correct.
While you’re at it, remind them about your online presence – FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest etc.
Don’t miss opportunities for support, ensure you can stay in contact with supporters.