Those of you who are on twitter may have heard of “@thewhinydonor“… If you haven’t – I suggest you follow her – she is your donor. Her insights to your asks, activity, automation, lack of gratitude, etc will give you a look into how some of your donors might feel when they get something from you.
I asked her if she was will to share a top 10 of things that REALLY drive her crazy and below are her thoughts. As she points out – she is aware that you have tested some of these things and they “work”… and I would also suggest the same – as I know for certain that some of the things that she describes have been quite effective through the years… but… have a read.
Ladies and Gentleman, introducing… your donor…
THE RANT OF THE WHINY DONOR
One giver’s highly individual, highly opinionated musings on what bugs her in the world of fundraising (even if it tests well and works).
1. The most heinous crime of all is asking me for more money when you’re thanking me for what I just gave you. The worst offender is an acknowledgement letter that has a perforated reply form on the bottom of it, but even a simple return envelope strikes me as passive aggressive. I want to call you up and ask, “Did you think, when I carefully wrote out my check, that I forgot to add another $100 to my amount, and that I would be relieved to get a chance to make that up to you right away?”
2. Close behind that, of course, is an acknowledgement that’s slow to come. Yes, I am keeping track. I’m very pleased and impressed when your letter comes within a few days of receiving my check, when I’m still feeling the glow of giving. Anything longer than three weeks is unforgivable.
3. And when you do thank me, show some enthusiasm! Use exclamation points! Show me some thrill! I sent you my heart when I sent you my check. Don’t leave me hanging with unrequited love. A “gift receipt” sucks the joy out of giving. So does giving online through PayPal.
4. Personalization. I stopped giving to my alma mater when, after 24 years of consecutive giving, the acknowledgement began, “Dear [College] Supporter.” There’s simply no excuse for not using my name. If you’re calling me “Friend,” we’re probably NOT on friendly-enough terms for me to give you anything, or certainly not anything much.
5. More personalization. I’m disappointed if there isn’t some kind of handwritten note scribbled near your signature. Even something as simple as “Thank you!” Actual handwriting, not fake handwriting font, which is cheesy.
6. Non-stop appeals. Those mass-produced appeals that come every 6-8 weeks, often with address labels and notepads, must work, but I’m not in that demographic. Most of my giving is to smaller, local non-profits, and I expect a simple letter, signed by the executive director, in the spring and the fall. (And I always ignore the spring letter, because I give in the fall, but I get that you can’t just ask me once.)
7. I don’t care if your fiscal year ends in June, July, or especially August. There’s no point in sending me an appeal asking me to help you reach your goal by then. And definitely don’t tell me you need my donation to balance your budget. I want to help you make the world better; keeping your accountant happy is your problem.
8. Are you really going to ask me to tear something off, fold it funny, sign my name to an ornament or a placemat, and send it back to you? Could I please just have a simple reply card, with my name and address already filled in, to send back to you with my check?
9. I’d like you to notice that I’ve given before. Mention my past generosity. Otherwise, it feels like it didn’t make any difference. I’ve received unsegmented general appeals that have actually suggested I give LESS than my last donation. Don’t tempt me.
10. In spite of all the whining, I know you work hard at organizations that do great work. I can’t support everyone, but thank you.