How will Cuts to Postal Deliveries Affect Charities

June 2015 will see a change in postal deliveries, a cut from six day delivery to three. From NZ Post’s perspective this is probably good business, but for charities there could be a big impact.

What will your organisation do in the time leading up to the change? Now is the time to think about what you will do. Leaving it until a few months before will be too late if you want to keep good communication flow with supporters who don’t want or, are unable to receive your information, your “pleas” for support via other means.

Will you encourage supporters, current and prospective, to subscribe to your email updates, so to be able to get information to them when you need them to act? Or will you change the way in which you manage you pleas?

What ever you decide, don’t leave the thinking until the last minute, if you can get supporters to accept you communication via electronic forms a long time in advance of the change in the postal delivery change you will more likely have a better chance than if you leave it until the 11th hour.

We all know there are organizations who like to use multiple channels to communicate but, there are many who rely heavily on the mailings to communicate. It will be this group who are most likely to be affected more – and unless this group starts planning now the outcome could be that they face a crisis that could have been averted had they started planning for the change early on.

If you’re using email, post and social media to communicate, then the change may not have a big impact when it comes to appeals. But, if you’re only relying on mail, then you could see yourself having to juggle budgets, perhaps even having to cut service delivery to adjust to the change.

There’s still a number of supporters who won’t want to use electronic means for communications, so you will have to be the one who makes the change.

Perhaps you will need to adjust your appeal calendar – is this something you are able, or, prepared to do? The time is now to start thinking about this, don’t leave it too late or you could miss out on retaining donors.

The cost of gaining a new donor will be greater than the cost, time and effort you put into forward planning for the change.

June 2015 may seem a long way off, but as we all know, time passes quickly when we’re all busy. Start planning now – you can’t afford to miss the post.

Donor Retention

As we near the end of the year, yes, the silly season isn’t that far away. it’s now a good time to be thinking about donor retention, what you’re going to do to keep the hard fought supporters of your organization.
Each year, you, like all organizations are likely to have seen a drop off in donor numbers, even one or two dropping off can have an impact. Just like any commercial (for profit) business the cost of gaining new clients (in your case supporters) is higher than retaining those you already have. 
By communicating with, nurturing your current supporters – who already know your story, what you stand for and the work you do, you have a chance to keep them and possibly even see an increase in the contributions they make to your organization.
How can you retain donors? You could look at a few simple, cost effective things such as:
  • Thank you calls. Select supporters who give above a certain amount on a regular basis and have the CEO call them to thank them and update them on the work of the organization.
  • Thank you cards. Select a group of supporters using what every criteria you feel appropriate and send them a handwritten, personalized card showing appreciation for their ongoing support.
  • Invite supporters to an “exclusive” event. Having a group (small) of supporters attend an event can mean a lot to them and have a huge benefit to your organisation.
Don’t leave your communication with supporters to when you want something from them, to only the usual newsletters etc; communicate with them outside of your normal communication time frames. Often supporters see your “usual” communication and shrug it off, knowing it’s an update and a plea for support. However if you ‘surprise’ them you’ll likely gain their attention, and if there’s a call to action you could find they’ll take the action you ask of them.
Recognizing the support you gain is important, simply sending a receipt doesn’t cut it – you need to look at ways to nurture and build supporter loyalty.
What activities has your organization undertaken to show appreciation for your supporters? What’s worked and what hasn’t – share you thoughts and comments below.