Donor Remorse

Your income isn’t where it was this time last year, you check donations, look at your donor database and see that you have a number of donors who haven’t given in the latest round of fundraising. Why?

It could be that you have several donors suffering donors remorse. Yes, this is a real thing, it’s akin to buyers remorse; something you’re probably personally aware of (did you really need that new pair of shoes, that new suit or that splurge on single malt whiskey?)

Donors give for a variety of reasons, and they stop giving for a variety of reasons; one reason some stop giving – is – donors remorse; yes it is a real thing.

Maybe you’ve experienced it on a personal level when you have given something, and almost as soon as you have dropped the donation in the bucket or envelope you have a pang of regret – remorse, and question why you did it.

There’s a few reasons for donors remorse, some people experience it after being prompted by a friend to support a cause, a relative was assisted by an organisation and asked you to make a contribution or, perhaps someone you know had a child selling something to raise funds for a school trip.

Donors remorse is a real thing, it’s something though that organisation probably don’t plan for but they should have some way to factor this into their planning. If someone gives today and later “regrets” it; the chances of them staying around and supporting in the future is very unlikely, yet they’ll still expected to by the organisation, the organisation will likely add them to the database, they’ll receive mailers etc – all at an expense to the organisation, with a very very low probability of a second or subsequent donation being made.

Quite likely the amount given initially will be less than what the organisation will expend to get subsequent donations.

Organisations spend considerable time (and money) on donor retention, but when a donor has remorse this expense is wasted. So a way has to be found to make sure the level of donor remorse is minimised.

Don’t be airy fairy in what the donors support will mean, give real examples of how it will make a difference, personalise how their giving will make a difference. If needed and you’re able to use real pictures and real names – “Lucy will have a better chance … “

When people are asked to support a real need has to be given, a picture painted; something that will stick with the donor – you want them to stick with you, so make sure the image you paint sticks with them.

All the training in the world won’t make a difference to how much you can raise – and maintain, if those making the ask are confident, competent and above all using all the tools you have given them.  Monitoring who information is used isn’t prying, it’s an investment, don’t be afraid to use “secret shoppers” – you’ll get real world feedback, not only on how your campaign is going but on how effective those making the ask are doing it and coping.

Are you going to let donor remorse hit your bottom line and impact on year on year giving?

See also Breaking the Silence Around Donor’s Remorse

New Donors Need to be Welcomed

What do you do when a new donor joins the ranks?
Nothing?

If you’re not acknowledging and welcoming new donors, you’re doing it wrong.

Donors, as I’ve said many times, are not ATMs. They deserve to be treated better than that, and the best time to start doing that is when the join the ranks.

You can’t just use a first receipt as a way to acknowledge a new donor, you should be doing a receipt then the Welcome Package.

You need to give them more information; you should be using a Welcome Pack. These are a great way to new donors feel welcome and to provide more information about the organisation, more information on ways they can be part of the donor family.

The idea behind a Welcome Pack is to begin a relationship between the donor and your organisation.

If you say you don’t then you are missing out.

You should be sending out your Welcome Package soon after the reciept for the first donation, not with the receipt.

Your Welcome Pack could contain more indepth information about your organisation, the people, the work, the beneficiaries. It and offer other ways the donor can get involved and, it should reinforce the benefits to the donor of supporting you.

Perhaps adding a couple of brochures outlining the work and benecificaries of your organisation, if you do a regular newsletter, include a couple of the most recent issues. Perhaps somethingon payroll giving or bequests could be included to.

But do make sure what you offer in the Welcome Pack doesn’t come across as though you’re trying to be pushy. These people have just joined, you don’t want to lose them.

Have a few people from your organisation sit down and work through what would be good to include in your Welcome Pack, and there’s no reason why you couldn’t ask a couple of donors to also have some input.

Lastly, do not, do not, use or see your Welcome Pack as another fundraising appeal. It is a thank you, a way for you to show your appreciation for having the donor on board and to give some added information.

What do you do when a new donor joins your family?

Donor Loyalty … You not Them

Donor loyalty is important, not the donor being loyal, but you, the organisation.

Often donors feel as they’re simply being treated as an ATM, they feel that organisations aren’t loyal to them.

This article, Keep Your Donors by Building Profitable Relationships That Last; on Nonprofit Quartely is a must read.

There’s some good pointers in it, many I’ve raised before; being donor centric, building relationships and more.

Take some time out and read this now

A Look Back

After chatting with some people over the weekend about ideas for my blog posts this week, it was suggested to do a recap a ”Look Back” at some of the posts I have shared previsously.

Sounded good to me, so here’s Look Back at some earlier posts that I’m sure you will enjoy and gain something from.

When Something Goes Wrong
Negative feedback about staff interaction with donors can impact on the reputation of your organisation, how do you deal with it?

Every now and then someone doing work for your organisation may say or do something that causes donors to be left with a sour taste in their mouth.

How this is dealt with by you is important, you need to retain supporters and the best way to do this when someone upsets them, is to let the supporter know that you hear what they are saying, that you will talk to the staff member about their actions and that you will let the supporter know what action you have taken.

It doesn’t matter how long or the value of support you receive from a supporter, they are all equal and should be treated as such, respect is universal.

Keep reading here

Reigniting the Flame in Delinquent Donors
Before you start planning how to get delinquent donors back on board, have you made the phone call to ask why people have stopped supporting you?

Without some level of research any plan to reignite the flame in donors who have stopped giving for some reason, you have no idea the why, what and how of putting something in place to win them back.

Reigniting the flame in a delinquent donor in many cases is quicker and more cost effective than gainer a new donor.

The donor who has stopped supporting you did so for a reason, was the amount they were giving too high, they had a change in personal circumstances, or something else has caused them to stop giving.

Continue reading here

Business Support
It’s estimated that business donations account for six percent of the donations some non-profits receive.

If this is the case then the question must be asked “how much time and energy is being used to reach and nurture this group?”

Is the time you’re putting into gaining business support being used wisely?

If residential – general support if the main income source for non-profits, wouldn’t it pay to spend more time gaining and nurturing this sector?

Continue reading here

Pick up the Phone and Say Thank You
Don’t lose donors, respect them, acknowledge them.

An organization recently lost a major donor because they felt their support wasn’t really being appreciated.

Why, simple after sending in a substantial cheque on a regular basis all they’d hear back from the organization would be in the form a standard receipt, no acknowledgment of the impact the donation would have on the work that the organization carries out.

Result – support withdrawn. All the organization had to do was pick up the phone and call the donor, thank them and tell them how important they were to the work being carried out.

Continue reading here

As always, leave comments or suggestions on what you would like to see shared on my blog

You can email me charitymattersnz@gmail.com

Losing a Friend

You clear your post office box, and among the mail is a letter and cheque from a long standing donor, someone who has supported your work for a number of years; someone you see as a friend. The letter is a shock.

Your donor has just told you that this will be their last gift, that they have decided that they need to cut back as they are supporting other organisations and can’t support everyone.

What do you do?

File the letter and bank the cheque, make a note on your system that the donor won’t be supporting any more; then carry on with your daily work.

If this is what you are doing, you could be missing out on maintaining the relationship you have with this donor.

The first thing you should do is take a breath, then pick up the phone and call the donor.

Why? You’re losing a friend, and you should be calling to say thank you for the support they have given over their time with your organisation.

When calling ensure you’re not making the call as a plea for them to stay on as a supporter, your reason for the call is to thank them, and nothing more.

You may end the call with a big surprise; in some cases the donor makes the decision to stay with you. It won’t always happen and most often won’t happen if you go into the call begging them to stay.

The call should be about how valuable their support has been, what it has meant to have them as a supporter and what they have helped you achieve. Any decision for them to stay is theirs and theirs alone.

I’ve made a number of these calls and know how well they have gone down with the donor, you could almost hear them smile knowing they you have valued their support. And, yes, some donors have changed their mind and stayed with the organisation.

So, the next time you get a letter saying that this will be the last donation, take a breath and pick up the phone and thank the person for their support. You have nothing to lose, and plenty to gain.

Do you make these types of calls already, how do you handle them, do you find some donors stay?

They already support, Now What?

You’ve just done the best pitch, only to find out they already support your organisation, now what?

Firstly, shouldn’t you have talked with them and ascertained if they already know you and/or support you?

Fundraising, supporter acquisition time is precious – you need to be making the most of it and to not “qualify” who you are speaking with, pitching at the outset can waste precious resources.

But, having said that; when we do end up speaking with someone who already supports, we should be taking the opportunity to thank them, to encourage them to continue their support and, to also ask if they could help spread the word about the work being carried out.

If you haven’t qualified who you are talking with, you’re most likely making needless pitches; which are most likely taking time away from nurturing new supporters, but yes, you can’t afford to neglect current ones either.

It can be a fine balance – how much time and effort is needed for both segments ?

We know supporters don’t stay forever, well mostly they don’t; so you do need to be out and about, being proactive to replenish your supporter pool. In my experience nurturing new supporters is about 40 percent of your work, the rest is on maintaining the relationships you already have.

If you are spending time (some of the 40%) talking to people already on board, that’s eating away at the time you have to spend with new prospects.

So, next time you set about trying to gain new supporters, ask if they know your organisation; if they do, move them to the donor nurturing quadrant, and move on to the next cold prospect.

What are you doing to ensure your energies are being focused in the right direction?

How have/do you handle it when doing a donor acquisition campaign and discover that some of the people you’re trying to get on board are already supporters?

Are you adapting ?

Often seeing organisations doing the same thing day in day out to gain funding can be frustrating. especially when you know they could do better and more if they adapted their fundraising activities.

For instance; if you used to only communicate with donors through mail and change to email, have you taken into consideration how you will communicate with those who do not have, or don’t want to be contacted through, email?

Will you be prepared to split your database so those without email are updated on your activities, achievements through information supplied with receipts? Or, do you, will you be like others and “forget” about this group and suffer through a drop in donations?

It used to be that organizations would only be known by those it supports and, by those who supported it. Simply due to lack of resources, skills and money; now though any organization, no matter its size can with the right skills can communicate with anyone, anywhere and virtually at anytime.

If your organization hasn’t or isn’t looking to adapt you can’t expect to keep growing. It’s that simple.

There’s more “competition” for the charity dollar than there was 10, 5, even two years ago.

No that organizations and, individuals have the ability to set up online fundraising campaigns, those not doing so need to at the very least look at how these platforms can work for them. If they don’t they will run the serious risk of being left behind.

Online fundraising will only continue to grow, either through organizations making use of the various tools, or by individuals doing it themselves.

Can your organisation afford to be left behind?

If you don’t want to be left behind, what will you do to change?

Have you changed the way you give charitable donations, are you giving more directly, or are you giving to organizations who have a higher presence in your social channels?

See also:

Online Fundraising, Impact on Traditional Fundraising

Does Profile Matter?

What’s Happening – are You Watching?

Who holds the keys to change?

Stop the Emails

I’ve said before that an email doesn’t always cut it, and I stand by this, what some don’t understand is that an email at the wrong time, with the wrong message can have a truly negative response.

Not only could the acceptance, click through rate be low, but it could also result in lower giving by those who take “action”.

It is important to truly understand how your donors want to be communicated with.

For some, a personal phone call may be what works, for others an email may suffice, however, it’s important that you understand what works for who.

If you communicate with the one group in the wrong manner you could do more harm than good, you could alienate donors.

Ask donors how they like to be communicated with, acknowledge and respect; it could mean a make or break with a campaign.

See also

Email v Direct Mail

An email Doesn’t Always Cut It

Email, Direct or Social Media

Communication – Email Management

Reigniting the Flame in Delinquent Donors

Before you start planning how to get delinquent donors back on board, have you made the phone call to ask why people have stopped supporting you?

Without some level of research any plan to reignite the flame in donors who have stopped giving for some reason, you have no idea the why, what and how of putting something in place to win them back.

Reigniting the flame in a delinquent donor in many cases is quicker and more cost effective than gainer a new donor.

The donor who has stopped supporting you did so for a reason, was the amount they were giving too high, they had a change in personal circumstances, or something else has caused them to stop giving.

Once you understand why people have stopped supporting you can set about working to win them back, they know your organisation, they know the good you are doing – now you just have to win them back.

The reason someone has stopped supporting could be as simple as they have misplaced your “ask” – that letter you sent out went astray or perhaps you email was blocked.

Some people stop giving if they feel they are being taken for granted, or that your acknowledgement of their giving is timely.

Others stop because they said they wanted to give less frequently, but were still be solicited monthly, this would turn anyone off.

People don’t like be ‘lumped’ in with everyone else, have you been addressing your donors in the way they expect “Dear Friend” instead of “Dear Mary”?

Put yourself in your donors shoes, how would you feel if any of the above happened to you?

How do you go about getting them back on board?

If you’re able your database should be able to give you a list of donors who have stopped giving, if possible break this down even further to – 12, 24, 36 month groups.

From each group, identify those who have made at least three donations each year.

Now you have several workable lists to work with to regain dormant donors.

Start with those who haven’t helped in the last 12 months, this group is easier to manage, and most likely will have a bit success rate.

People who have more recently given are more likely to start giving again, but only if asked, and only if the reason/s they gave to stop giving have been addressed.

The longer you leave it to get in touch with delinquent donors, the harder it will be to reignite their passion to help.

Have a regular plan to contact people who stop giving, even a quick call might be sufficient to get them back on board.

Don’t start a conversation with a delinquent donor they way you would with any other, you need to do these approaches in a personal way; don’t treat them as a number, treat them as the person they are – talk about them, their support and what it means to you; leave the fluff about the how great you are for another conversation.

See also:

Donor Loyalty

Donor Retention: Time for a Change

Who’s Centre of Attention – You or Your Donor

Donor Loyalty

How do you keep loyal donors, they’re the ones who support you no matter what – they’re the people you can count on.

But, like any other donor, there’s always the risk they’ll move on.

What can you do to retain their loyalty and commitment to your cause?

Many non-profits expect a high attrition rate after a donors first support; in some cases this can be as high as 65%. That’s 65% of new donors walking away after their first donation; that’s a high percentage, so maintaining loyalty is important.

You need a compelling message, a clear reason why donors should stay with you and, remember it’s about the donor not you. Tell donors why they are important.

How you communicate with your donors can make or break loyalty, what does your message say about you? What does the way you speak, communicate with donors say about the way your organisations operates?

Show your donors why their help is needed, and how this can make a difference, right now.

Trust is what donors are looking for, trust in your organisation and trust in what you are saying. They need reassurance that what you are doing is making a difference, helps others and that the money they are giving is being used wisely.

Are you making it easy for donors to support and communicate with you? One of the biggest turn offs for donors is the way they are treated. If donors feel that they are being treated with indifference or your organisation doesn’t show that it cares about them they will likely walk away.

Another way to turn off donors, is to make it hard for them to support you.

We all like things in life to be easier than it perhaps is, and this is true also when it comes to charity support.

Make it easy for donors to make their donation, does your website make it easy for them? Can they make a regular donations direct from their wages, or by other direct methods?

Another key to keeping donor loyalty, is in building a relationship with them. A receipt for donations received is not building on a relationship, so you need to have other ways to communicate and engage with donors. Keep in mind too that it’s not one size fits all when it comes to communicating with donors.

Some donors will be happy to receive a letter in the mail, others would prefer an e-mail, and others would appreciate a phone call. What do your donors like?

If you’re only thinking about ROI when it comes to donor communication, stop, and instead think about the lifetime value of your donors.

Not sure where to start with your donor loyalty “programme”, look at all possibilities and set up some tests to see what works best, again one size won’t fit all situations and donors.

What are you doing to build donor loyalty? If you support charities, what makes you stick with the ones you support? Share your experiences below.

See also

Donor Retention

Regular Giving

Recognise Regular Donors