You’ve got your sleeves rolled up – you’re ready for your fall fundraising. You and roughly 161,000 other charities and non-profits in Canada. And you – and 161,000 other compelling, inspiring causes are also seeking new donors for your movement.
Today, a few friendly reminders from your Agents of Good about donor acquisition that puts donors – not your charity or your workplan – at the heart of the conversation.
[typography font=”PT Sans” size=”16″ size_format=”px”]Start as you mean to go on.[/typography] Your donor acquisition message should resonate with your mission. If you’re stretching – or getting into ‘mission drift’ – with what you think is sexy right now but not really at the core of what you do, proceed cautiously. Donor acquisition is expensive enough – don’t fall for the trick of trying to get as many people in the door as you can, if the message using you’re bringing them in the door won’t be heard again.
And while you’re at it, create dedicated content on your website about the focus of your acquisition message. Whether you’re using direct mail, email, phone, face-to-face or a combination of methods, make sure your acquisition message is echoed on your website, ideally right on the homepage.
[typography font=”PT Sans” size=”16″ size_format=”px”]Your URG.[/typography] The Agents have developed this concept called URG – your Unique Reason to Give. Really think about what you do better than anyone else and what makes your cause completely unique and special. And build your donor acquisition message with this at the centre.
[typography font=”PT Sans” size=”16″ size_format=”px”]Don’t Count the First Gift.[/typography] Well, not really. Of course, when those first gifts come in, celebrate each one. Revel in the fact that you rose above the noise of our daily lives, inspired someone to act and moved someone to give. But then keep moving. Focus – ideally in advance – on what you’re going to do to secure that more important second gift. A thoughtful welcome package or welcome series. And a second gift ask – at the right time with the right message.
[typography font=”PT Sans” size=”16″ size_format=”px”]Chuck Your Thank You Letter. [/typography] Create a brand spanking new thank-you letter or email that completely echoes your acquisition appeal. Fill it with donor love. Make sure your letter is about your donors as much as it is about your cause. Send it promptly. Promise your donors that you will keep them informed about their gift at work for your cause. And keep your promise.
[typography font=”PT Sans” size=”16″ size_format=”px”]Focus on Your Offer.[/typography] What is the basic offer of your acquisition message? If it doesn’t cut right to the chase, and spell out clearly what you want, and more importantly what your donor can help you achieve, tighten it up.
[typography font=”PT Sans” size=”16″ size_format=”px”]Ask For One Thing.[/typography] Don’t clutter up your acquisition reply form or web form with a bunch of crap – monthly giving, legacy giving, volunteer opportunities, events. OK, they aren’t crap. But they don’t belong here. They belong in a thoughtful and appropriate follow-up message. If you are going to have one extra thing, talk about what you’ll do with the donor’s information. Privacy statements are dull, but the spirit behind them is important: we promise we won’t do anything with your information that you don’t want us to.
[typography font=”PT Sans” size=”16″ size_format=”px”]Tell A Story – Or 2.[/typography] Statistics, facts and other ways you demonstrate impact are vitally important affirmation messages. But make sure you tell a story, connect your donors with something that will speak to their heart, not just their brain.
[typography font=”PT Sans” size=”16″ size_format=”px”]Test Something.[/typography] Anything really. But don’t waste the opportunity to not learn something about your message. Test a longer letter. A different subject line. Something.
[typography font=”PT Sans” size=”16″ size_format=”px”]Count Donors. Not Dollars. [/typography] Your objective is to acquire new donors. Try to focus on the number of new donors who have joined your movement, not how close you are to breaking even on the investment. Of course, that’s an important consideration. But the more important consideration is the new people – living, breathing, caring and loving human beings – who have just joined your movement to make our world a better place.