Five common mistakes that frustrate donors and how to avoid them

In a busy environment, it’s easy to overlook some of the finer details of donor management and make some common mistakes that will frustrate donors making them less likely to give again. Avoid these common mistakes that may negatively impact fundraising results.

Central to the success of any fundraising campaign is the connection a charity builds with its donors.

Whether a one-off community event or a professional team running structured fundraising programs, donor connections are at the core.

In a busy environment, it’s easy to overlook some of the finer details of donor management and make some common mistakes that will frustrate donors making them less likely to give again.

You have very little time to build a genuine connection with someone reading appeal material. In all correspondence, you must use the recipients first name, or title if that’s their preference.

To insert a correctly spelt first name into a direct mail or E-appeal piece, watertight processes must be in place before data upload.To make sure that data drawn from the CRM is accurate, follow these tips:

Educate personnel on the importance of collecting first names in all conversations

Attention to detail is key. Make sure spelling of all names is uploaded accurately

Set donor’s preferences regarding their salutation and preferred first name when uploading

Failing to thank the donor

According to best practice in fundraising, donors should be thanked up to seven times for each donation. The last thanks of which, is given just before a request for further support.

Set the parameters of a definition of a recent gift (there’s little point still thanking someone for a donation made in 2012) and segment data so that each gift is referred to along with the date or the appeal it was made towards.

If financial support is still recent for a donor and they’re not hearing and feeling your gratitude, they’ll feel frustrated and less likely to give again.

Failing to segment data

Data is extremely powerful and can be manipulated to address an individual donor even in a database of thousands.

Once you’ve created the main content for an appeal, create several introductory and closing paragraphs relevant to the parameters you’ve set for your appeal.

Add a ‘thank you’ paragraph for those who have given recently

Tailor communication towards geographical location

Refer to the preferred way to give in the closing paragraph.

By segmenting data strategically, you can tailor correspondence so the recipient feels like they’re receiving a letter from a friend.

Ignore requests to change mail frequency

There’s nothing more likely to frustrate a donor than them feeling like they haven’t been heard.

If a donor asks you to remove their name from your list or change the frequency at which they receive mail, and you fail to action their request, you risk wasting money and potentially losing valuable support in the process.

Remember that you’re not the only charity mailing your donor and having lots of people requesting valuable support can become overwhelming for donors.

Set the mail frequency to quarterly or annual appeals depending on donor request to reduce the communication they receive.

Have a retention process in place for donor’s who ask to be removed from your mailing list and always give them the option of reducing the number of letters you send, or even removing them from the list completely for a year or two.

Matching the mail frequency to the donor’s requests will increase donor retention rates and keep your donors active.

Talking about yourself

Donors don’t want to know what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been doing it; they want to know how their contribution has made a tangible difference in society.

Make sure all marketing and appeal material is centred around outcomes for your charity rather than output. Empower the donor to give again and focus on how powerful their contribution is.

Every single donor relationship must be nurtured individually to build strong connections and encourage loyal support into the future.

SupporterHub is a data management tool that can help create highly personalised correspondence to existing and potential donors. This attention to detail will add a valuable personal touch to mass communication to avoid frustrations and help build long-lasting relationships.

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