Christmas is only 50 days away (I think) and all the window displays and music has got me thinking about gifting. This is probably obvious, but I think it is often forgotten, gifting isnt just about the person who receives the gift.
If you think about Christmas time when you give a gift to someone, first of all you spend a decent amount of time thinking about the gift. You probably write a list of ideas, the kind of things this person would like, would maybe never buy for themselves but would really enjoy using. Then you take time to wrap the gift and give it to them. You love seeing the reaction on their face when you hand over the gift. It is even better if you are there when they open it and you get to see the delight on their face. The fact that you thought of them, that you knew them so well to get them this gift. You, as the giver of the gift, get a warm glow, a feeling of joy, at seeing that reaction.
So, as a non profit, think about the gift giving process. Think about how you feel when you give a gift, how you love to know how the gift has made the person who received it feel. Then think about your donors.
When they send you a gift, they want this feeling too. They may say they don’t, but the do. They don’t just give to make you and your mission happy. They give because they too want to feel a warm glow, a feeling of joy.
Your job is to make sure that they get this feeling. So many charities either don’t do this or do it really badly. It is my strong contention that doing this well will make you and your cause stand out from others.
Appreciation is a sustainable business model.
Sometimes when you look at presentations out of context (ie without the speaker) they aren’t great. This isn’t one of those!
And they arent multi-millionaires
They are doing it by comitting to give 10% of their income to charity, so far this has amounted to 50,000 pounds and they believe as they become more successful this will total 2 million in their lifetime. They have made sacrifices, it has meant they havent gone on dream holidays, they havent been able to save the deposit for a house.
It is a pretty incredible story and as we try to really build and create a culture of philanthropy (that isnt just focussed on the ultra wealthy) I think that this couple should be appointed Ambassadors for Philanthropy
We clearly can’t expect everyone to follow in the footsteps of the Young’s, but even if their story got people thinking about planned giving, and even giving away 1-2% of their income to charity, wouldnt it be a great thing?
Read the full article here and Thanks to Phil from Aidlink who sent me this article.
I was sent a piece of mail during the week from a charity that I had supported before. I thought it was going to be a lovely update mailing on what impact my donation had made. Why did I think that? Well there was a massive thank you on the outside of the envelope.
I was really disappointed then to find the envelope contained not an update, or anything thanking me, instead in contained tickets for me to sell.
To be honest I dont mind selling the tickets, I know it works for them and I know they are a good charity. But it kind of annoyed me that they would say thanks before I agreed to do the selling. It seemed to be making a presumption that I was going to do this work for them.
I think they are right to use the outside of the envelope to encourage me to open the mailing, but in this instance I think they used the space really badly and actually were kind of sneaky in how they got me to continue to engage with them. it certainly didnt leave me with a “warm and fuzzy” feeling about them.
What do you think? Am I being unfair?
Imagine if we were as good to our donors as Zappos are to their customers. (these are real calls!).
thanks to Kevin Dunne for showing me this
….what happens? Well Daniel Jaszczak posted on his blog last week about his thoughts on a pack that came in from Cancer Research UK. I think its a really interesting post, and so Daniel said I could re post it. My only observation, outside of Daniels, was that it seemed to talk a lot about the organisation and not a huge amount about the donor! Anyway here is Daniels post:
To make someone, you don’t know much about, open unaddressed envelope can be tricky. I have to say that what Cancer Research UK wrote here, could give me the impression that they don’t care if I put it in the bin either. But let’s move on.
The appeal letter itself reads very well (apart from first paragraph which has font in two colours and some headlining). The copy addresses me all the time and therefore it feels personal. Good size font will make it easy to read for anyone.
First part tries to connect to reader. Straight away there is a “thank you” for not throwing it away and reading on. It mentions financial crisis and explains that also big charity like Cancer Research UK has been affected.
CR UK asks for only £2 a month and straight away assures me that this little amount would mean a lot to them. That is followed by quick breakdown of their work.
Next part of the letter tells me a bit about CR UK achievements over years and shows cancer statistics that only back up the need for their work.
Last part is a call to action. “Let’s stand up and fight this disease”. It nicely and rightly asks me not to delay filling in the form as it might end up on the pile of paperwork.It is signed by the Head of Fundraising. There is a post scriptum explaining to the existing donors why they might have received this as well.
The donation form surprised me quite a bit as it only allows me to set up Standing Order and not Direct Debit. There is also Gift Aid form on it. It is attached to the letter but perforation makes it easy to detach. It’s easy to post as there is also Freepost envelope in the pack.
All in all I enjoyed this door drop from Cancer Research UK. I wasn’t interested by the envelope but the letter copy was in my humble opinion very well written. I a bit disappointed with little choice when it comes to making a donation but the donation form itself is clean and easy to use.
I am looking forward to more mailings and I hope you understand that didn’t write this to criticise but just to share my “user experience”.
Action Aid posted this on twitter on Tuesday and i thought it was a great example of impact.
You can find the full report here
Article Source: Randeep Ramesh guardian.co.uk Blogposts Wed 8 Sep 2010
The World Giving Index – published by the Charities Aid foundation – used Gallup surveys of 195,000 people in 153 nations, and asked people whether they had given money to charity or volunteered or helped a stranger in the last month. It also asked respondents to rank how happy they are with life.
The results gave an indication of a “global Big society” with a fifth of the world’s population had volunteered, almost a third of the world’s population had given money to charity, and 45% of the world’s population had been “good samaritans” and helped a stranger.
The UK came eighth on the index and finished joint third, alongside Thailand, in terms of giving money, with 73% of the population having donated to charity. However its former colonial possessions – Australia, New Zealand and the United States – were far more charitable. In Europe only Switzerland and Holland fared better.
Rich countries dominated the top positions yet around half of the top twenty most charitable were developing nations such as as Guinea, Guyana and Turkmenistan. Strikingly India ranked at 134 and China at 147 – with Chinese people among the least likely on the planet to volunteer. Only 4% said they would.
I just came across this again, I must have forgotten to post it when I wrote it! I was reading on the brilliant A Small Change Blog about the book The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks and the Answers All Donors Crave. Jason provided a really useful summary of the 11 questions in the book:
Why me? “Remember that me is everyone’s favorite subject.”
Why are you asking me? “If you have genuine passion for the cause, it’ll show through, lending comfort to the donor and credibility to your ask.”
Do I respect you? “When people trust you, they’re open to what you have to say.”
Why your organization? “What makes you unique and different.”
Will my gift make a difference? “How their financial support will change and improve the life of a fellow human being.”
Is there an urgent reason to give? “The faster the gift comes in, the sooner you can aid the people needing help.”
Is it easy to give? “Look for ways to make it easy for donors to give”
How will I be treated? “Show kindness at all giving levels.”
Will I have a say over how you use my gift? “While some donors want control, most will trust your organization to spend their gift wisely”
How will you measure results? “These serve to reassure the donor that she’s made a wise investment in you.”
Nestle say they are “the world’s foremost nutrition, health and wellness company”. Do you think thats what most people say, think and feel about them? I doubt it?
BP strive to produce “energy that is affordable, secure and doesn’t damage the environment.” Is that what people say, think or feel about BP? I dont think so
So remember you arent what you say you are, what your annual report says you are, what your board says you are. You are what your donors think, feel and say you are, so start finding out what that is.
Im sure most people have been to Ikea at least once. There are two things that strike me about Ikea every time I visit and I think we fundraisers can learn from it.
Firstly they never (ever) miss an opportunity to remind you of the great stuff they have available. When you walk in the front door they are displaying beds and household goods, and you arent even in the household or bedroom area. When you do get to those areas they are showing you stuff for kids or kitchen items. Then at the check out they are reminding you of the meatballs that you ate in the canteen, and offering you the chance to take them home!! Secondly Ikea don’t want you wandering aimlessly around the store, they want to show you the best way to move and get the most out of your experience, so they direct you around their store.
This is the Ikea Approach and I think that fundraisers need to remember this when thinking about their organizations interactions with donors.
We need to never miss an opportunity to remind our donors of the great stuff that we do and we need to make it easy for them to donate (just like Ikea make it easy to purchase). We also need to direct them , direct them with an ask, direct them with a project that needs support, direct them to new areas of work. We cant assume that our donors will have all day to find out about our organization, so we need to make sure we tell them about our great work, remind them about it again and then direct them to donate (how and how much)
Of course the Ikea approach isn’t flawless and one area where Ikea can learn from us is the follow up and post shopping experience. I have never once had any communication from Ikea after a trip there, they have never thanked me, or checked that the flat pack experience worked out ok.
I have just read this report from Relate Partners and it provides a useful (if not earth-shatteringly new) insight into the motivations of Major Donors. Relate have spoken to 14 major donors in Australia and offer a summary of what motivates them to give, and some things that frustrate them about their work with non profits. This report, as is to be expected, aims to promote the work of Relate Partners (testimonials on the back page), but still it’s not a bad read . If you dont have time (it is quite short) Pro Bono Australia offers this overview
Australia’s major donors give because they believe they have vital contribution to make, but feel underutilised by charities who only want their money, according to a new report. The report found that the most inspiring environment for giving by major donors is with charities who engage them in a well contextualised relationship, shaped by candid conversation.
From the face to face discussions, the group of major donors say they give most to causes that impact people in need, to charities that can leverage their giving, and when personally asked by a well informed representative in an appropriate way.
Director of Relate Partners, Steve Gleeson, says major donors typically ask the very basic question, “How can I best contribute to help address this need?”.
Major donors say they are sceptical and tired of direct mail and do not respond with their biggest gifts to this solicitation method. Whilst they all prefer to be asked clearly, directly and personally for their major gifts, they don’t expect it to be the CEO. These high capacity donors say they generally need contact with someone who knows the work, can inform them well, be clear about what they want and is prepared to ask for it.
Allowing major donors to inform the method of engagement and communication, by hearing directly from them, is a real positive towards expectations being met, and their giving being maximised.
Nic Capp, founder and director of Relate Partners, says as they spoke one-on-one with these major donors, it was clear that they were buoyed by talking about how to improve their giving experience. Capp says they want to be better engaged because they want to help as best they can.
Major donors acknowledge they have disproportionate capacity to resource charities and they often want to give more than money. Typically highly skilled, vastly experienced and well networked, major donors say they feel underutilised by charities who only want their money.
The report says when these high calibre people ‘buy in’ to a purposeful endeavour, they want to contribute well and often are willing to contribute beyond financial donations. Their life and business skills and experience can not only be invaluable to a NFP in an advisory or board function, but when utilised they can be extremely motivating to the major donors in their resourcing capacity.
Relate Partners specialise in major donor personal engagement and had conversations with 14 major donors who agreed to respond to a range of questions, in order to help inform the fundraising practice of Australian Not for Profit organisations.
(Original Content Credit: Pro Bono Australia)
The full report can be viewed at www.relatepartners.com.au
I came across all of this information via Jay Frost
After a successful weekend of fundraising and then reading Damian’s post here about his recent successes (donor mailing up 42%) I am even more convinced now that if you give donors what they want you will be successful.
I am not saying I have a new magical piece of information here. I think thats the thing, there is no magical solution. The reality is everyone doesnt want to give to your cause. Your target market isnt everyone.
So know who you are targeting. Then do the small things well. Give people a really good reason to give and a really good reason why they should give now, you will be successful.
Isn’t this what we all want to know….combined with Why Donors give. If you can master these two things you are on the pigs back.
Bluefrog carried out research over three months. The fieldwork of more than 200 people, across 11 charities, shared their views, their gripes, their experiences and their recommendations relating to over 100 different organisations.
They use one quote to sum up their findings which I thought was great, it is the message implicit in a single statement from one of the participants:
“You keep saying this thing lapsed. Lapsed from what? I never felt I was giving anything up.”
Many donors feel that they lose very little when they withdraw their support. This points to the most important, yet most overlooked element of donor recruitment and development, which is that people give to charities in order to satisfy their own psychological needs – not the needs of the charity.
The answer to this is to place the focus on the donor.
Their paper provides seven practical steps that any charity can implement in order to reduce its level of donor attrition and quickly increase available funds, the key recomendations are:
- Actively look for ways to start a relationship. Don’t just drop new donors into your standard appeal cycle. Engage donors in a dialogue.
- Manage donors’ expectations.
- Don’t think about what you want to tell your donors, think about what they want to hear from you.
- Concentrate on answering your donors’ needs.
- Allow your donors to choose how and when they want to hear from you.
- Know your donors – listen and remember. And show them that you remember.
- If they do go, part as friends. The best chance you have of reactivating donors is their last experience of you is a positive one.
But don’t stop at this…..Read and Re-Read this report. Download it here
Thanks to Mark @ queerideas for sending it on