Pay Attention to Your Donors!
Sarah Ferguson, Senior Vice President of Client Services
Don’t let your bottom line dictate the fundraising ask.
It’s too easy for those of us who fundraise for policy-oriented non-profits to allow our organizational needs to dictate how and when we ask a donor for a gift. Yes, there is a time when the ask is linked directly to the need, but you must be aware of what is going on in your donor’s backyard. Be sensitive to their financial and environmental situation.
Hurricane Harvey. Flooding. Wildfires. Hurricane Irma. These are just a few of the natural disasters we have seen this year in the United States. For the millions of people who have been directly impacted by these natural disasters, they may no longer have a physical mailbox to receive a fundraising solicitation or donor communication. Besides, rebuilding their homes and allocating funds to their immediate personal needs is their priority.
As you consider your organization’s fundraising needs, be mindful of your donors who live in these areas. In the months following the natural disaster:
- Suppress their addresses from your direct mail lists.
- Pull their names from your online fundraising campaigns.
- And, by all means, remove them from your call list – unless it is to ask: “What may I do for you?”
If you want to send something to your donors who may be struggling during this season:
- Keep the communication uplifting.
- Make it about them and not about you.
- Show your donor that you are very aware of their situation and are working as an organization to help or make changes that directly impact them.
- Be creative in how you can help, especially if you’re a policy organization.
Whatever you do, pay attention to your donor. Be aware of their location and situation. Hold your ask until the right time. At some point, they’ll be in a position to give again – and when they do, they’ll remember those organizations that were mindful of the time they needed to rebuild and reprioritize.
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