publication date: Nov 12, 2012
author/source: Janet Gadeski
It's important to engage donors and build longevity at all
levels of the pipeline, not just among major gift donors says KCI
president and CEO Marnie
. The newest issue of KCI's Philanthropic Trends Quarterly
explores how charities might
build stronger relationships with all their donors. Here's just a taste
of their advice.
the full publication at Philanthropic Trends Quarterly.
- It's dangerous to assume that our donors are
just like us, or that everyone shares the opinions of a vocal minority. Listen
to what your donors really say, and observe what they really do.
- Ask your donors about who they are, why they
like you, what they want from you, and why they give to you - either in
individual conversations or through focus groups and online surveys.
- One of KCI's clients discovered that not
everyone in its leadership giving group wanted an in-person experience with the
organization. A donor survey revealed that some of them preferred electronic, telephone
or mail contact. Your assumptions may seem like common sense, but you too could
be wrong about what your donors want.
- Use website analytics and information from your
database to determine what people actually do. Another KCI client, a concert
venue, discovered that the customer segment most likely to move up from ticket purchase
to a donation/purchase/membership package was contemporary jazz patrons, not
the classical patrons it had assumed. Stay curious about your donors - build a culture
of curiosity. It's not enough to run a few surveys and think they've given you
all the knowledge you need.
- Segment, segment and segment again. Most
charities don't! And segment based on meaningful information.
- Not every donor will be a potential lifelong
donor. Those from pledge-based event
fundraising and memorial tribute giving are more likely to be one-time or
episodic givers. Accept that, and apply your cultivation and retention tactics
to other segments where they'll have the greatest impact.
- Borrow from the "customer experience" insights
of the most successful corporations as you think about your organization's
- Connecting donors to your mission is the heart of that
experience - how can you help donors to experience the impact of their gift in
the way they'd prefer to experience it (see #3)?
- With major donors, customize their individual
experience to fit the original motivation of their gift.