My 5-year old daughter is an Agent of Good. She has her own little desk in my office and she regularly colours, draws and writes letters “in HQ with mama”. I have found many treasures on my desk. The other day, I found this.
I said “Sadie, tell me the story about this” and she looked at me with her big, bright eyes and said “my name just seemed to belong there mummy”. She charged away, curls bouncing.
Do your response forms make your donors feel like they belong?
Or do they have barcodes, mousetype-weasel-words and endless check boxes for remaining anonymous, exchanging their name, how their name should appear for recognition purposes, legacies, volunteering, events… Are you creating a feeling of belonging or is this just a transaction?
Now don’t get me wrong. Inviting your beloved donors to connect with you in more meaningful ways is the only way to cultivate your annual program. But do they ALL belong on EVERY coupon you do?
Here at the Agents of Good, we love thoughtful and appropriate check boxes. Who doesn’t love to check stuff off? But put them where they belong – in welcome kits, newsletter packs, surveys and the like.
Speaking of check boxes, here are the top 6 things that your donor should be (mentally) checking as a YES when they send you back your response form:
- Do I feel good? (without this one, the other ones don’t matter)
- Do I know what I’m being asked for? (the answer is: ask for one thing, and one thing only – and then make it easy for your donor to give it)
- And now what? (Hopefully the postage-paid envelope is the next thing they grab. If your reply envelope needs postage, if it has the “your postage helps save money” message or is otherwise a separate thing for me fill out, you’re losing interest)
- Will my gift make a difference? (if this isn’t crystal clear in your letter and/or lift note, scratch it and start over)
- Do I either need to squint-and-hold-close or lean-and-hold-back to read this? (yes, it should be big type, a big form and lots of white space. Oh, and yes, even if your logo has to be a bit smaller.)
- Is there possibly small type here that means I am giving up a vital organ or first born to this charity? (You’re asking donors to do one thing: give today. That’s it. That’s all. Sure, you can do an e-mail follow up and drive gifts online, or do a phone follow up and take donations by phone. All good stuff. But your response form should speak to donors who have pens in their hand and are likely to give by mail. Or else your segmentation sucks. And that’s another blog.)
If it feels like a mortgage application or if it feels like “transaction”, start over. Not because you’ll raise more money. Not because it will be easy for donors of all ages and abilities to read. Do it because you want to make your donors feel good. You want them, with pen in trembling hand, full of emotion and all their instincts are saying not just “Yes! I’ll give today”, but saying “HELL YEAH! WHERE DO I SIGN?!”