When I moved houses I used the postal company to forward my mail to my new address. This service also allowed me to let my utility suppliers, insurance companies and charities know that I had moved. The online platform let me tick the boxes of those charities that I am supporting. But there was also an option for me to request information from charities that I am not currently supporting, but am interested in.
As a fundraiser I like to test, so I ticked my boxes, and a couple more, and a few more, and some more. I ticked 33 boxes, from both charities I support and I’m interested in. Now we wait and see what happens…
A few days go by, a week goes by, 2 weeks go by, 4 weeks go by – I hear nothing. Sure, I know how it works. The charity needs to get the data from the postal company first and the charity decides how often they want to get this data exported, as both data exports and imports cost money. It makes sense for charities not to import small files, but wait for the file to grow and save both time and money.
See what’s happening? We’re talking imports and exports of data. While in fact we’re talking about our most committed donors who wanted to let us know that they’ve moved. They want to stay in touch. They reached out to us… and what do we do?
There is of course the other group – the group of potential donors who are interested and want to find out more. In times where acquisition is both expensive and difficult, how is it possible that we let Mr. and Mrs. Opportunity knock on our door and we don’t answer? Even when the numbers are not big, it should be possible to organise a tiny process to accommodate these friendly people who want to get in contact.
I bet you 100 euros that donors who are willing to take the trouble of letting you know they have moved are more loyal donors with a higher lifetime value… I bet you another 100 euros that people who reach out to you for information are more likely to convert into a financial supporter than your average acquisition sign-up rate. So it might be worthwhile investing in these people…
Of the 8 charities that I financially support, only 4 contacted me. The rest never got in touch at all. 4 of the charities that I expressed an interest in started sending me information as if I were a lapsed donor and tried to include me in their standard communication.
And then there was one charity… they thanked me for becoming a new financial supporter and then sent me an “invoice” to pay my contribution. When I didn’t answer they started sending me reminders in a tone that made me think I was getting mail from the bailiff… Awful!
Opportunity knocking on your door and if you don’t open fast and be nice to me, I will never ever give you a donation again!
[This post is slightly adapted from a post that first appeared on 101fundraising.]