Good donor management data could be helpful in retaining donors over time. While your organization may do important work, mishandling communications with contributors can cause them to abandon ship. Donors simply don’t have time to deal with organizations that don’t appear to have the time or courtesy to get things right.
Donors Communication outlines
For instance, a blog on Ahern Donor Communications outlines how simply getting a name wrong can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Tom Ahern noted how he had been contributing to MoveOn.org since 1998, but ever since that time, they’ve consistently referred to him as “Thomas” rather than “Tom,” which is what he prefers to be called. There are many things nonprofit organizations can do wrong, but using the incorrect name is something that could have been avoided long ago by taking a note and updating the donation management platform.
In response, Sarah Lange, principal and founder of consulting firm New Era, wrote about her own experience with withdrawing funding from her alma mater, Colgate University. Despite her deep love for her university, her donor experience hasn’t been fantastic, she wrote for Nonprofit Quarterly.
Multiple organizations within the school sent her solicitations, even those she consistently failed to respond to. Moreover, Lange was one of just 2 percent of alumni who gave on a consistent basis each year. However, the school did nothing to communicate with her as though she was part of a select group and instead sent out impersonal two-line emails to thank her for donations.
These experiences highlight the need for robust donor management data. As Lange stresses, it’s far easier and more cost-effective to gain donations from previous contributors than hook new donors. By segmenting donors by previous giving history and other elements, nonprofits can develop closer relationships that last for the long term.