As fundraisers, we balance our communications with asks, stewardship and feedback. Of course essentially all of these things are basically making a case for what our organisations do and why we do it and vitally why we need their support to help us make the difference. But some communications are more direct i.e. an appeal while others are more about demonstrating progress such as a feedback. Nothing surprising here of course most fundraising programmes would have the mix.
What is increasing noticeable to me though is how these are deployed for people that are no longer apparently giving to you. Now obviously there is no scientific methodology behind this, but I have been monitoring over the last 6 months what I have been receiving from organisations that I have given to in the past but to which I wouldn't class myself as a donor. Equally data wise based on a RFV criteria I would certainly not be deemed as an 'active' supporter. But interestingly, out of 7 communications I have received, only one of them hasn't been a direct appeal for money.
Now in thinking about this, it appears that there is a prevalent approach that assumes that lapsed or lapsing cash givers just need another opportunity to give again to change their status back to active again, and I am not going to lie and say that there isn't a lapsed segment in the recent appeal selection, it's Christmas after all.
However personally, from my little audit, I really appreciated the feedback, but wasn't overly moved by the appeals. And as much as I am a professional fundraiser and proud to be so, I am also a charity donor.
So what would happen if we tested including apparently lapsed supporters in our feedback selections? And monitoring their onward behaviour? My answer is I don't know yet, but am going to see what happens, because as a charity giver I was happy to receive the feedback, and I read it. Would it have had the same impact had it been 1 of 7 feedback communications? I can't say, but that isn't what is happening currently in my experience so I believe there is a real opportunity to see what difference a change of approach could make or at least mix it up a bit.
If you think about the donations you receive from supporters in response to feedback mailings in general, in my experience it's worth a test. Last year our legacy ask mailing generated several thousand pounds of donations with no direct financial ask made, and similarly I have had the same experience with other feedback communications, I'm sure we all have. Feedback generates response, financial and also people genuinely pleased to receive it and who will tell you so.
So as a charity giver, active or otherwise, sometimes it would be nice not to be asked or at least not in a heavy handed way...let your great work do the talking and maybe I'll be motivated to give again if I can - but will certainly remember you for it.
Thanks as ever for stopping by.