ChangeThis Manifesto: Cracking the Genetic Code
Best Fundraising Posts: 25th July

Donor Magic: Getting the basics right

Following on from last week's article on 'What is donor magic', this week i'm going back to basics and considering what are the basic things you need to get right before trying to it.

Steve Yastrow in his free e-book "Encounters: The Building Blocks of Relationships"

(based on his book, which i've ordered from Amazon and will review once I've read it) says that whenever you intereact with a donor (or customer) one of three things can happen:

  1. You enhance the relationship.
  2. The relationship stays the same.
  3. The relationship deteriorates.

Our aim has to be that every interaction we have enhances the relationship with the donor.

However, there is no point creating magic if you don’t have the basics right.  This means it’s imperative that we get the transactional parts of the relationship correct and don't do anything that makes it deteriorate. 

Things like: ·    

  • Thanking promptly and sincerely ·    
  • Getting donors information right ·    
  • Respecting donors wishes ·    
  • Being courteous  

Getting the basics right is the bare minimum and is not enough by itself.   It only stops the donor not saying anything negative and grants permission for us to ask or talk to the donor again in the future. It is amazing how many charities fail to even get these basics right. 

Research by Adrian Sargeant1 showed that only 22% of donors stop giving because they can no longer afford to give.  Other major reasons to lapse are:

  • Donor perceives another cause to be more worthy
  • Poor quality of service
  • They forget they've even given in the first place due to the low standard of feedback or communications.

To really inspire and motivate donors to give again we need to create magic and next week I'll look at how you can go about doing this.  

1: "Relationship Fundraising: How to Keep Donors Loyal", Adrian Sargeant, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, vol12, no2, Winter 2001