Having spent a morning with a group of “seniors” (their word not mine) talking about ways they can help charities other than giving money on an ad-hoc basis, I got to thinking about how organisations tap into what could be a very valuable source of support.
Michael shares that Daniel told his class that he believes “donors see their giving as an extension of themselves.” He indicated that the more involved he is with an organization, the more personally he’s connected, the more likely he is to donate. In addition, he said that he is motivated by the notion of “giving back.” If he, or a family member, has benefited from the services of an organization in a significant way, he’s more likely to contribute.
- the quality of the organization’s products or services,
- the demonstrated efficiency with which the organization provides those products or services.
All too often we hear about donor fatigue and how organizations are suffering due to lack of cover for those using social media – is it really fatigue or is it the “ASK”.
When you hear about supporters who haven’t given, when you hear about potential donors who haven’t given – instead of labelling this ‘fatigue’ it’s wise to look at the ‘ask’ first – was the ask right, was the timing right – did you go back to regular donors who said ‘no’ and ask why?
Asking why regular donors are giving, or why you’re not getting new donors is important – it will help you remodel the way you ask, the methods available for people to give.
A company that sees a drop in sales doesn’t immediately blame the market, the economy, it will look at the offer, the staff, the ‘pitch’ – charitable organization must do this too.
Blaming external factors before looking at internal factors is a copout … harsh, yes, but unless organizations look at themselves first they have no real idea what the cause could be.
Sure, people have tightened their belts, they may have redirected where they’re giving their money … it happens, it’s a fact of life.
If your donors aren’t giving as they used to you owe it to them, and yourself to ask why.
Have you changed direction, are you doing something different, or is it the tone of your ‘ask’ that is putting people off?
Don’t fall for the trap of always blaming outside influences, sure they may have an impact, but it’s important to know if it’s something you’re doing – or not doing that’s causing people not to support you.
Have you lost supporters, had trouble gaining new supporters and found a magic formulae to turn them around – would be great if you could share some thoughts on this below.
The way we all communicate has an effect on people, and the words we use will have different impact, for sometime I’ve suggested to people and organisation not to use the word “just” – it’s a self put down.
Erica Mills of Claxon Marketing in a guest post on Nonprofit Marketing Guide has some other gems of advice … Top 5 Words to Avoid to Achieve Messaging Awesomeness.
Another “Every little bit helps” – this can cut right to the quick with people who give perhaps two dollars – that two dollars to them could be a lot.
Think about the words you’re using, are the creating a pleasant interaction, are they showing you as part of the community, are the inclusive?
You have invited supporters to give regularly, they are giving every month via direct bank transfer; but how often are you communicating with them?
If you are giving on a regular basis to your chosen charity through direct payments, are you hearing from the organizations you are giving to?
A sad reality is that some organizations work hard to get supporters but seem to forget to keep them informed of work being done, of projects completed, and how their support has helped.
We know the likes of World Vision and Red Cross & the likes do keep all supporters up to date with what they are doing but there are a number of smaller organizations who seem to have forgotten that they need to be doing it.
Supporters give because they believe in the work you do, for their hard earned contribution don’t the deserve hearing what you have been doing with “their” funds?
A regular newsletter or other update to your supporters is necessary, how else do they know what you are doing?
There are people who give on a regular basis who may not care, they just want to give – that is fine, but the vast majority of your supporters are likely to want to know.
Are you giving directly to a charity on a regular basis – what updates are you getting?
When was the last time you updated all your supporters about the work you have been doing and, what you have planned for the coming month, quarter or year?
Charities or anyone working in the community cannot just take the money, get on with the work they do and not be expected to tell supporters.
Your supporters want to know – tell them, do not leave it for them to have to ask – this could see them withdraw their support, can you afford for them to do that?
Do you have an opt-in email subscription for your organisation – if so how are you dealing with unsubscirbe requests?
How you handle these can have an impact on how you’re perceived, here’s something I posted on AdageBusiness a while ago.
How long does it take to get unsubscribed? Come on, if someone wants to be unsubscribed to an e-newsletter or other offering respect their wish. Don’t make it difficult, you didn’t make it difficult for them when they wanted to subscribe, making people login to unsubscribe isn’t doing you any favours.
Not too long ago I went mad and subscribed to a range of what first looked like interesting feeds, e-newsletters and the like; but after seeing the same thing week after week being trotted out I started unsubscribing. But the amount of time it has taken to have my request to be ‘released’ is becoming a real pain. I’ve just received the 7th email from one organisation I requested to be unsubscribed from, surely after the 2nd request you would have thought they’d have gotten the message.
If someone wants to unsubscribe – respect the request. It isn’t doing anyone any good by continuing to send info they don’t want or aren’t interested in.
Make it easy for your supporters (and yourself), have an easy to follow opt-in and opt-out process.
Are you making it easy for your supporters? Do you have a simple opt-out/unsubscribe method?
What’s working for you?