This blog by Wild Woman Fundraising got me thinking about what goes into the day-to-day decision-making process that fundraisers go through when speaking to supporters.
The telephone (like face to face which Mazarine mentioned in her blog) is also a real-time channel. So we know first hand how important it is to make the right decisions when asking for support as the response from a supporter is instant and can have a long-lasting effect on a supporters perception of your charity, how much they give and how long they plan to support you.
So what decisions should you make before you make that call:
- When do I ask? When is the most appropriate time to make a phone call or send a text? Contacting a supporter several times in the same year will probably not go down well, is not best practice and won’t do anything for the reputation of your charity, but contacting them before they do a fundraising event for example may be a pleasant surprise for the supporter, will help drive loyalty and give them a boost to help them raise more money!
- What do I ask for? If you’ve asked your supporter to increase their gift to £5 a month and they’ve said no two or more times previously then why make the decision to go back and ask for the same amount again? Do your research. How has your supporter engaged with your charity in the past? Have they preferred doing an event rather than giving via monthly direct debit for example. Could this help you make an informed decision about how they could help you in the future and therefore what you ask them to do?
- How do I ask? Choosing an appropriate channel and delivering your message is really important. Has your supporter responded better to an SMS ask rather than a telephone call, were they quite responsive and perhaps more interested in a certain aspect of your charity’s work – would it be a better decision to give them an update on this rather than talk about something new?
All of these things should come into your decision-making process and of course all is underpinned by fundraiser expertise, knowledge and attitude (more on these at a later) which can be driven by engagement and training sessions.
Relationship fundraising has continued to be a hot topic and is something we’ve been advocating for some time now.
But now we’re seeing new research and interesting lines of thought, mainly from Craig Linton and Rogare which may change what we originally thought about the whole concept of relationship fundraising, how to use it and when.
Although there’s been some mixed views from both Craig and Rogare; the points raised in findings from Rogare’s – ‘Relationship Fundraising’ where do we go from here? and in Craigs follow-up blog were particularly interesting to read, especially as many of the issues raised we have discussed on our blog previously. Reading both blogs, my main thoughts are:
- I agree with Rogare’s point that there is a requirement to apply real critical evaluation of the needs for each audience, engagement and donation type. A great way to do this is through donor journey mapping.
- We see trends of donor expectations changing and there is now an even greater focus on supporter care as charities are compared to the corporate sector where customer care has become the one key differentiator between competitors
- I think we must never lose focus on the beneficiary but giving back to supporters and having a more two-way relationship surely will result in more meaningful long term relationships that are ultimately in the best interest of the beneficiary
- We know firsthand the challenges of moving to a relationship fundraising model, however we are seeing steps being taken to make that move day-by-day, campaign-by-campaign
- Craig’s point about trust and satisfaction in every donation is key. Our donor satisfaction surveys help us understand how supporters feel about the charity in real-time (more on our satisfaction surveys later)
- We should never think of any fundraising as just ‘transactional’ and the phone is a great way to build and strengthen a relationship with a supporter over time whilst also delivering the objectives of individual campaigns
Craig’s right! It’s all relationship fundraising in the broader sense but there are different layers to what this means in practical terms.
For any of this to work – we need new KPI’s in fundraising that are given the same importance as pledge and value such as life time value, supporter satisfaction, engagement levels, complaints, expressions of dissatisfaction and retention. These things all need to be monitored on an ongoing basis during campaigns and be built into the campaign forecasting not monitored in isolation.
A positive move to a donor based approach to the business of raising money I think is priceless.
We’ve been teaming up with Xtraordinary Fundraising lately who delivered a brilliant and very timely session on mapping the donor journey recently.
Delivered by Mike Johnston (HJC) and attended by key charities (large and small), world renowned universities and hospitals , the session provided the audience with great case studies from commercial companies like Lidl and the charity sector; as well as all the tools they needed to map out their donor journey in order to maximise the donor experience and create more personalised relationships with their donors.
You’ll be hearing more details on the donor journey from Mike himself via this blog so stay tuned! In the meantime the storify and slides are available to view now.
If you really can’t wait, then why not get in touch to talk about how you can use the phone to enhance the donor experience at different stages in their journey then we’d love to chat! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details and we’ll get back to you