Donor Communications Secrets to Success

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Donor Communications Secrets to Success

  1. 1. Donor Communications Secrets to Success Presenter: Jay Love
  2. 2. Your Presenter Jay B. Love ! • 30 Years of Technology Leadership • Over 20,000 Database Installations • Former Founder & CEO of eTapestry • Former CEO of Master Software/Fund-­‐Master • AFP Board Member • AFP Ethics Committee Chairman • Center on Philanthropy at IU Board Member • Innovation Fund at Butler University Board Member • Gleaners Food Bank Board Member • Co-­‐Chair of Indianapolis YMCA Capital Campaign 3
  3. 3. Do you know your retention rate? In our surveys, less than 45% of fundraisers knew their current donor retention rate.
  4. 4. The 2013 FEP results are in » 6 out of every 10 donors do not give again!
  5. 5. New donor retention is even worse »
  6. 6. Donor Attrition Over Five Years So what? # of Donors Attrition Rate Donors Remaining After 1 Year Donors Remaining After 2 Years Donors Remaining After 3 Years Donors Remaining After 4 Years Donors Remaining After 5 Years 1,000 20% 800 640 512 410 328 1,000 40% 600 360 216 130 78 1,000 60% 400 160 64 26 10 https://bloomerang.co/retention
  7. 7. Why nonprofit donors leave » • 5% -­‐ thought charity did not need them • 8% -­‐ no info on how monies were used • 9% -­‐ no memory of supporting • 13% -­‐ never got thanked for donating • 16% -­‐ death • 18% -­‐ poor service or communication • 36% -­‐ others more deserving • 54% -­‐ could no longer afford https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140520191728-746287--infographic-why-donors-stop-their-support
  8. 8. Why nonprofit donors leave » BAD COMMUNICATION
  9. 9. Cue the experts »
  10. 10. Cue the experts » A significant number of donors lapse because they find the communications they receive inappropriate. - Dr. Adrian Sergeant, Bloomerang Chief Scientist http://www.afpnet.org/files/ContentDocuments/Donor_Retention_What_Do_We_Know.pdf
  11. 11. Cue the experts » “Are your charity's fundraising, advocacy or other "persuasion" communications riddled with common, hidden flaws that limit their effectiveness?” - Tom Ahern, Bloomerang Donor Communications Head Coach
  12. 12. Goal of donor communications » You send a message... ...and you want action!
  13. 13. First, ask yourself » 1. What do I know about the target audience? 2. What does that knowledge suggest I do? 3. What are the obstacles?
  14. 14. You send a message » Ignore Pay attention
  15. 15. You send a message » Ignore Pay attention
  16. 16. Why were you successful? » • How did you grab my attention? • How did you stir my emotion? • How did you make your case so I cared? • How did you talk to me personally? • How did you advance the case story? • How were you relevant to the reader? • How were you relevant to the times?
  17. 17. Secret to Success #1 » You’re trying for “mental nods.”
  18. 18. You send a message » Pay attention Ignore Skim & engage Skim & discard
  19. 19. You send a message » Pay attention Ignore Skim & engage Skim & discard
  20. 20. You send a message » Pay attention Skim & engage Not satisfied Satisfied Action No action © 2013 Tom Ahern Ignore Skim & discard
  21. 21. © 2013 Tom Ahern An Example »
  22. 22. Personalization Brief opening Why am I in your home? Ask #1. Do I have relevant news? Ask #2. Do we have a connection? Ask #3.
  23. 23. Reinforce the connection Are donors important? Far more than you might realize.
  24. 24. Disqualify other sources of income Demonstrate importance of donors’ work Ask #4 Shift responsibility for the success of the mission onto donors’ shoulders
  25. 25. Remind what’s at stake Ask #5 News value. Urgency. And Ask #6. Flesch reading ease: 58, Flesch-Kincaid grade level: 8
  26. 26. Ahern Audit »
  27. 27. Secret to Success #2 » Your appeal is NOT about how wonderful your organization is. Your appeal IS about how wonderful the donor is.
  28. 28. Beginning of mail Elapsed time: 1-­‐3 seconds End of mail
  29. 29. You do not sell everything to everyone. ! You sell to specific values, feelings, beliefs, hopes, dreams, connections, affiliations, tribes, etc.
  30. 30. It’s not about you. It’s about the donor.
  31. 31. Not you. The donor.
  32. 32. Not you.
  33. 33. The donor.
  34. 34. First Question » What kind of communication am I going to write today?
  35. 35. Types of Donor Communications » • Letters • Emails • Acknowledgements • Newsletters • Social Media • Videos • Blog Posts
  36. 36. Two Distinct Types of Appeals » 1. Acquisition (no gift yet, reader is a stranger) 2. Renewal (made a prior gift, reader is a friend)
  37. 37. Acquisition Response Rate » ½ of 1%
  38. 38. Renewal Response Rate » 40-­‐70%
  39. 39. Ask Yourself (Acquisitions) » 1. Who are you (your promise)? 2. What do you want? 3. Why should I trust you? 4. Why do you matter? 5. How do you relate to me? 6. What’s the rush?
  40. 40. Ask Yourself (Renewals) » 1. What did you do with my prior gift? 2. Are you grateful? 3. What do you want now? 4. Do you have proof? 5. Again: Who are you? 6. What’s the rush?
  41. 41. Personalize! » • Use the person’s name • Use the pronouns “you” and “I” • Include an audience attribute: “As a parent, you know....” • Geography: “As a resident of...” • Hand-­‐written touches
  42. 42. Secret to Success #3 » Make your donors the solution to some local problem.
  43. 43. Dr. Adrian Sargeant: Why Donors Stay Loyal » They’re aware of consequences ! “Someone might be hurt if I don’t give.”
  44. 44. “…the purpose is to get the reader involved long enough and interested enough to make a positive decision. Nothing else.” -­‐-­‐ Jerry Huntsinger
  45. 45. Secret to Success #4 » 1st paragraph: 10 words or less.
  46. 46. Secret to Success #5 » Multiple asks
  47. 47. Multiple Asks Logo [ Optional important message ] Dear Ms. Smith, If you’re like me, the sight of kids running around on stage in silly costumes makes you giggle with delight. Sincerely, Ms. Sincerity Champion, ED ! PS: ytuytggygkigkygkygigikgy Ask! Ask! Ask! Ask!
  48. 48. The purpose of donor communications: To get inside a person’s home or office ... ... and carry on a brief, persuasive “conversation in print,” hoping it will earn your cause a gift.
  49. 49. It’s not breaking and entering.
  50. 50. How does a good guest act?
  51. 51. Donor Communications Checklist » • Is the letter a conversation – or a brochure? • Is the opening sentence short? • Is it personal (“you” and “I”)? • Have I said why I’m here? (“I’m writing to you today because...”) • Does it make a promise? • Is there urgency? • Are there at least 3 asks? • Does it entertain (tell a story, offer news)? • Is the donor the hero?
  52. 52. Secret to Success #6 » Don’t bore me.
  53. 53. Neuroscience says… “Coming across new information triggers a chemical reaction that makes us feel good, which in turns causes us to seek out even more of it.” Source: Wall Street Journal article by Lee Gomes, on USC neuroscientist, Dr. Irving Biederman; published March 12, 2008
  54. 54. Dear Jane Sample, ! Our doctors call it "Day Zero.” ! It’s the day you come back from the dead.
  55. 55. New Anything Will Grab My Attention (including the word “new”)
  56. 56. Also “new-­‐ish” Words like secret, hidden, hints, tips, update, private, confidential, mystery, discover, unveil, expose, reveal, divulge. Phrases like "Did you know?", "Myths and Facts," "Frequently Asked Questions," "Heard on the Blog."
  57. 57. Secret to Success #7 » Know your SMIT. Single Most Important Thing.
  58. 58. “Focus on the SMIT (single most important thing) you want to tell someone, right now. Ideally focused on a story about an individual.” -­‐-­‐ Jonathon Grapsas
  59. 59. Secret to Success #8 » Get them into a fight.
  60. 60. “Giving is not about a calculation of what you are buying,” Yale economics professor, Dean Karlan, proved. “It is about participating in a fight.” The New York Times | March 9, 2008
  61. 61. Secret to Success #9 » Make a promise.
  62. 62. They are not giving to this, at least not initially Memphis Child Advocacy Center Helping Victims Become Children Again They are giving to this
  63. 63. Donors don’t give to your organization. They give through your organization to: • fix a problem they worry about • sustain or expand a solution they believe in • get more of what they’re interested in • feel like they’ve made a difference
  64. 64. What You Must Have » • Emotion • A story • Urgency
  65. 65. 9 Secrets to Success » 1. Mental nods 2. Not about you, it’s about the donor 3. Make your donor the solution to a problem 4. 1st paragraph: 10 words or less 5. Multiple asks 6. Don’t bore me 7. Know your SMIT 8. As long as it needs to be 9. Colloquial language
  66. 66. Questions?
  67. 67. Free resources » https://bloomerang.co/resources/
  68. 68. Next-­‐Gen Database/CRM https://bloomerang.co/demo/

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