Can Your Organization Pass the Donor-Centered Test?

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We hear the term donor-centered a lot, and it’s pretty self-explanatory.  You want to focus on your donors’ needs and interests and take into account that not all donors are the same.

Is your organization donor-centered? Find out by taking this test.

Fundraising Appeals

  • Are your fundraising appeals focused too much on your organization – rambling on about how great you are?  Your organization may be great, but let your donors figure that out. Your donors are the ones who are great, and they want to hear how they can help you make a difference for the people/community you serve.
  • Are your appeals segmented to the appropriate audience?  Thank past donors or reference your relationship to a potential donor.  Maybe they are event attendees, volunteers, or friends of board members.
  • Are your appeals addressed to a person and not Dear Friend?
  • Are your appeals vague, impersonal, and filled with jargon your donors won’t understand?  Don’t say we are helping disenfranchised members of the community.  A donor-centered appeal would say something like – With your support, we can help low-income families find affordable housing.
  • Do your appeals make people feel good about donating to your organization?

Thank you letters

  • Do your thank you letters come across as transactional and resemble a receipt? Yes, you need to acknowledge that the donation is tax deductible, etc, but most donors are more concerned about how their gift made a difference.
  • Do your thank you letters (or better yet, a handwritten note) shower your donors with love?  Start your letter with You’re fabulous or Thanks to You!
  • Are you telling your donors the impact of their gift?  For example – Thanks to your generous donation of $50, we can provide groceries for a family of four at the Eastside Community Food Bank.
  • Do you recognize each donor?   Is this the first time someone has donated?  If someone donated before, did she increase her gift?  Acknowledge this in your letter/note.

Newsletters

  • Do your newsletters sound self-promotional and drone on about the wonderful things your organization is doing instead of showing your donors how they are helping you make a difference?
  • Is your newsletter written in the second person?  Write to the donor and use the word you more often than we. How to Perform the “You” Test for Donor-Centered Communications – Do You Pass? BTW, all your donor communication should be written in the second person.  It’s much more personal.
  • Does your newsletter include success stories, engaging photos, and other content your donors want to see?
  • Are you using the right channels?  Perhaps you only send an e-newsletter, but some of your donors prefer print.
  • Are you showing gratitude to your donors in your newsletter?

Always think of your donors

Use these test questions on other donor communication such as annual reports, your website, and social media posts.

How did you do?

Be sure every message you send to your donors focuses on them and makes them feel special.

Read on for more information on how to be donor-centered and wallpaper your office with this donor-centered pledge. Take the Donor-Centered Pledge 

Is Your Organization Sufficiently Donor-Centered?

Strategies to Build Donor Love — How to Create Donor-Centric Communication and Response

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