How Do You Want to Be Reached?

This is part one of a series called The Disgruntled Donor.  I’ll be addressing four questions I wish nonprofit fundraising campaigns would ask me as a potential donor.  See the series intro here.

How do you want to be reached?

I wish fundraisers would ask me how I want to be contacted.

This is not code for a focus group.  This is not a veiled suggestion for a long meeting where you can discuss my demographic’s preferences and motivations.  Just ask me.

It can be a postcard.  It can be an online survey.  It can be simple.

With a few well-placed multiple choice questions, you’d find out that I prefer to be contacted via email or social media.  You might also find out that I flat-out won’t answer the phone for people who aren’t friends, family, or coworkers.  You may also discover that I can’t stand snail mail (I elaborate on this below).

During the initial disgruntled donors discussion that spurred this series, my friend remarked that she liked when an organization just picked one way to contact her and stuck with it, for example, just four quarterly newsletters mailed to her home.  The short communications survey could find this out as well.

The message here isn’t that quarterly email newsletters are the answer.  The point is that different things annoy different people.  Since this is not difficult information to acquire, store, or act upon,  large-scale development departments should really spend more time figuring out how not to tick off their potential donors.

An Aside: My View on Snail Mail

I recently received an advancement report from my alma mater.  It weighed more than my cat, probably cost significantly more than my yearly rent to put together, and undoubtedly asked me for money.  That’s quite the mixed message.  Was it worth the cost in money and hypocrisy points to send me something I’m just going to unwedge from my mailbox, lug upstairs, then schlep back downstairs on garbage/recycling night?

Please, just email me.

What do you think?

How do you like to receive donation requests?

Which type of donation request is the most annoying to you?

The next question will appear on Friday.

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2 thoughts on “How Do You Want to Be Reached?

  1. I prefer email, with an easy-to-use link to their website, with most of my pertinent information pre-filled from the last time I made a donation. My local public radio station gets *close* to this, but they drop the ball at the end… I get the membership renewal notice, click the link, and have to fill everything out like I’m brand new. I want to just plug in the number of my credit card of choice and my chosen amount and call it a day.

    Paper mail – not likely to read it unless it has some interesting-looking articles; if it’s just an ask, it doesn’t get read. Phone calls – hellz no.

    But then there’s frequency… just because email is free to send doesn’t mean I want to get three emails a week from your organization. That’s a good way to have your next ask end up in my SPAM folder.

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