Thank you to everyone who took the time to tweet, e-mail and comment on my last post on sending a birthday e-mail to our face to face donors.
I thought i'd summarise them here, as together they make interesting reading.
The basic conclusion is, give it a go. However, as a general point, I'd say that the older and/or less tech savvy someone is, the more sceptic they were about the idea. That means that I think it will be ok for our face to face donors, but probably not suitable for our direct mail donors.
I've drafted an e-mail and you can have a read of it here (now with typo's removed!)
As before, I'd love your honest feedback and ideas for improving it.
Feedback from Twitter:
"I can't see why not. I have gotten birthday messages from companies before on my birthday, sometimes maybe linked to a special offer, but if the message was personalised enough it was nice. I got a text message before. Anyone who is on Facebook probably gets messages on their birthday from "friends" and that's ok. I am not a big birthday person but this wouldn't bother me at all."
"Got to say, I thought about doing that for the charity I work for but thought better of it.
Facebook would make it easy for you to wish everyone a happy birthday whenever it was their birthday.
Actually emailing a donor on your database to wish them happy birthday I think would be great, if you automated it but branded it all up and thought about it a bit more than just a happy birthday message. Could potentially be a lot of effort for very little return. Is it worth it? Not sure.
As for the Facebook thing, everybody may not enter their birth details into Facebook so there then becomes a danger of excluding a few people whose birthday it is but you don't know about it.
Hope that helps."
"I think it is a good idea - in fact, I know it is a good idea which works well especially with major donors. I often train and advise major donor fundraisers to do just that and even go a step further and sometimes send 'Happy Wedding Anniversary' cards or 'Congratulations on your daughter's marriage'... etc whatever is appropriate.
I strongly believe that donors are people too and they appreciate being treated as such and not as walking chequebooks. I think most donors, especially those who have a meaningful relationship with a charity, ie. are multi-year donors, regular givers, major donors, donors and volunteers etc... are likely to appreciate birthday wishes and acknowledgement of their support. I think a nice e-card or even better a real card can help make a lasting positive impression and set your charity apart from others."
"I know that I would be thrilled, and very impressed if I received a birthday card from one of my favourite charities."
"I think it is a lovely thought, however I think it all depends on how well you know the people you are contacting?
"If I have had direct personal contact with a supporter, I have subsequently emailed or called to wish them well on special occasions, but I have to agree with the other people in your team I would feel a bit uncomfortable getting a birthday wish from someone I didn’t know, and who I probably had forgotten knew my birthday. People are so protective over their identity these days, my date of birth is something I don’t really want too many people I don’t know knowing or using.
"However, after saying all that, as I was once told ‘I am not the target market’ so I try not to base everything I do on whether or not I would appreciate it! Maybe you could do a test on a small number and ask for their feedback?"