How to map out your donor journey

We’ve been teaming up with Xtraordinary Fundraising lately who delivered a brilliant and very timely session on mapping the donor journey recently.


donor journey

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 with your details and we’ll get back to you


Has Our Message Stuck?

Everyone knows that to be an outstanding fundraiser you must be an outstanding storyteller. But that knowledge isn’t nearly enough because…

i) Everyone knows it so everyone’s doing it.

 There are 180, 000 registered charities, with countless more too small to register. Last year our sector sent over 166 million pieces of DM.  Millions more conversations are held on the street, door and phone.  And you can’t blink without being asked to text a donation to something.  All try to tell their story to a diminishing number of donors who’ve heard it all before.

ii) We don’t just compete with each other.

How many adverts do you think you’ll have seen by the end of the day? 50? 500?  The answer, on average, is 1600, and yours is just one of them.  As the great George Smith said “The consumer does not separate the commercial mail from the fundraising mail and save the latter for more earnest consideration. Junk mail is junk mail, no matter how diverse the motives of the mailer”.

iii) Knowing you have to tell a story doesn’t make you a storyteller.

We have access to the most powerful, emotive stories on the face of the earth. But we’re not very good storytellers. A recent Ph.D. study of over 2000 online and direct mail fundraising documents concluded the way we communicate is “…overly formal, cold, detached, and abstract.”

How can we get it so wrong? In our rush to tell a story we forgot it’s not a story at all.  Before you wrote it someone lived it. But the raw authentic voice of our beneficiary is sterilized because we worry it won’t be signed off. Emotional impact is lost because beneficiaries are off brand.

Fundraisers face these obstacles every day. So, along with my friend the brilliant Lucy ‘Innovation’ Gower, I presented proven principles on how to overcome them at the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention. Being voted by my peers as a top speaker has made my Monday. But the real reward will be hearing from those who’ve used the session to make their fundraising stand out…


‘Thank you – We Got It!’

Recently, Amnesty International gave me an experience (as a supporter) which has reinforced the way in which I think we should be talking to supporters.   It was a beautiful example of great  donor stewardship.

Firstly, it was based on a simple premise.   On the eve of their vote to finally create an Arms Trade treaty, the campaign encouraged me to just send simple emails in support of Amnesty’s lobbying of the UN General Assembly.

Amnesty made it easy for me to do this.  All I had to do was enter my name, mobile number and click send –  then they acknowledged my action immediately.   I received an instant bounce-back telling me my emails had gone and that the swell of support for this campaign was growing fast.

Get others involved.   I was then encouraged to forward the campaign email onto my friends, family, workmates – or anyone who I thought might want to get involved.  I felt good about doing this because I was joining Amnesty to help them with what they’re already fantastic at doing– mobilising opinion & inspiring others.

Kept me updated on progress.   I was sent SMS messages to my mobile  phone, updating me that Amnesty had received an overwhelming response and they were increasingly hopeful of success-  keeping me involved at every stage of the campaign.

Finally the day of the vote arrived.  What would happen?  Had we been able to make a difference?  I received an email that evening at 7:02pm.


‘Thank You We Got it!’ Five little words that had one big impact on my engagement with the charity!

A historic agreement that I helped to make happen.  Amnesty had made sure I understood that and crucially, they made me feel good about myself.

Not only did it inspire and motivate me to give again and again, but, more strongly than ever, it made me feel that I can and do make a difference every day by giving to this wonderful cause –  reminding me why I decided to support them in the first place!