Inside the hearts and minds of your donors
Many organizations we work with see similar growth. They are raising more from amazing donors who are giving more and giving more often. Because of #donorlove.
What is #donorlove?
We explain it with these seven principles that we use to guide us in our work every day:
- Your donors are heroes.
- You share amazing and inspiring stories of the work that your donors make possible.
- You connect to your donors’ values and emotions by sharing your own.
- #donorlove is a courtship. A romance. How do you make your donor fall—and STAY—in love with you?
- You ask for one thing and only one thing.
- Who—or what—is the right voice for your story?
- You say thanks with passion.
I’ll also add one more: #donorlove is the thousand small things you must do for your donors every day.
So how do we get inside the hearts and minds of your donors? What can we do to become your donors’ favourite charity?
The good news is that it is deceptively simple. Simple, but not easy.
Your donor gets appeals every day. What can you do to ensure that she looks at yours? How can you make her feel cherished, important and needed? That’s what she wants. She also wants to help you win.
Let’s talk about asking.
Does your offer and ask give me, the donor, an opportunity to swoop in and be a hero? Does it speak to my values as a human and compel me to take immediate action? Ideally, every appeal and every ask should be about a specific problem that can be solved with your donors’ help.
Next, we have thanking.
It’s easy to do, really—but why do so few organizations take the time to properly thank these amazing people who make their work possible?
A simple, handwritten card. A personal call to your donor thanking them, asking why they decided to give, a quick conversation. A photo paper-clipped to the top of their tax receipt. A gratitude report that gushes love and appreciation for the amazing work they helped you make possible. The possibilities are endless.
How are you emotionally and thoughtfully thanking your donors?
Just like in “real” life, it’s relatively simple to show those we care about how important they are. But not easy. No shortcuts are available here. If you thank without meaning it, without real emotion, you might as well not bother at all.
Finally, you must report back to your donor on their impact.
This really is the heart of #donorlove.
Being able to show and share with your donors all of the amazing things they make possible is, regardless of giving level, the key to retention, loyalty and increased giving.
One of the best ways to share impact is with a thoughtful newsletter. Printed. On paper. Not that crap electronic one that marketing wants “blasted” out once a month.
Printed newsletters are the TRIFECTA of great direct response. Because they can ask, thank and report impact, all at the same time. And when you pour #donorlove all over them, your newsletters can easily raise more money than any one-off appeal.
But you can also show impact in so many other ways...
…An insert in your direct mail piece that talks about how, in the past year, you accomplished a, b, and c because of your donor, and how, next year, you will be focusing on d, e, and f—and that you know, with your donors’ amazing support, you will accomplish them.
…A photograph from the “field”, literally showing kids digging holes for trees, or a mom leaving the shelter for good, or volunteers laughing as they sort through mountains of food at the food bank.
…A simple card with a note about the moment a boy’s face lit up when he realized his days of being shuffled from foster home to foster home were over.
#donorlove and direct response is an ongoing conversation from one human to another. It’s emotional, it’s messy, and it’s real.
Ask with thoughtfulness, thank with emotion, and always remind your donor how much you need them and appreciate the amazing worth they make possible.
Do your work with love, my friends.