Let's Raise Some Money
Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

Did You Forget Me The Way Your Donors Forget You?

July 7th, 2015 by Karen Climer

Do you still remember who I am? I know it’s been ages since I wrote a blog posting. I had the best intentions, but other things got in the way. (Sound familiar?) I like to think that all my blog readers are sitting around thinking, “Gee, I haven’t seen anything from Karen lately. I wonder what’s going on with her.”

But the reality that most of you probably forgot about me. You might not have even noticed that I didn’t post any new blogs. After all, you have your own lives to worry about.

You aren’t that different from the donors of just about every nonprofit in town. Out of sight; out of mind. If you don’t communicate with your donors, they will forget you and move on to an organization that does communicate with them. Most donors are reactive. They do not wake up and decide to send you a check. They think about you because you remind them to think about you.

Many nonprofits are afraid of over-communicating. I have seen dozens of development and marketing departments have meeting after meeting where they say, “We just sent them something last week. If we send them another email, they will unsubscribe.”

I’m about to reveal the secret to how often you can communicate with your donors (or ticket buyers or alumni or any other constituency you have). I have discovered this secret through my own personal experience with the organizations I donate to, through my experience working with other organizations, and through research that fundraisers and marketers have conducted.

You can communicate with your donors as often as you have something valuable to say. If your communication adds value to the life of the recipient, you can communicate several times per day. If your communication does not add value, once per year is too often.

I receive an email every day from a specific for-profit organization. I look forward to reading this email first thing in the morning. It is short, and I always benefit. I learn something new or I am made to think about something differently because I read these daily emails. In fact, if I received an email from this organization twice a day, it wouldn’t bother me. I would read it every time.

There are other organizations that send me a monthly or quarterly newsletter that makes me say, “Where is the unsubscribe button?” It’s not that I dislike the organization. It’s that the communication adds no value to my life.

So, communicate with your donors more often, but be sure that your communication adds value to their life.

Posted in Communication

One Response

  1. Frances

    Very good comments. I just called a non-profit for information and to purchase tickets to something. You cannot order tickets on the phone but only online. I was never able to talk to a person, but they asked for a donation when I purchased the tickets online. Customer service cannot be that difficult and it goes a long way.

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