News & Articles

A donor complains about too much mail – what you can do

Give them a choice.

Dr Adrian Sargeant’s research has found that donors, when asked their communication preferences, tended to stay with charities longer and make bigger average gifts. Offering donors choice is a key.

In support of this, fundraiser Stephen Pidgeon explains:

“You must not do it too early, and certainly not after the first gift.

“After all, how will the new supporter know the pleasures of a stewardship program that await them? You must test it, of course, but I would ask a new supporter after nine to 12 months, when they have experienced one or two appeals, a newsletter or two, maybe a survey and an invitation to an event.”

At Pareto Fundraising, we put this into action with our charity partners. Be smart, be strategic, and be data led:

  • Don’t give every donor choice all at once. Test your choices with your least valuable donor segments so you can learn and adapt them for your most valuable segments.
  • Don’t give your donors choice across all channels in one communication. When given choice, most people may only pick one or two channels. And this will leave you unable to communicate with them in other channels.
  • Use your supporter preferences data (i.e. survey results) to understand your donor’s motivation for giving – and then adapt the choices to suit that. A donor is not likely to refuse to receive information from a charity on the things they are most interested in.
  • Ask us about a proven strategy for validating the permission status of a large dormant pool of supporters you have in your database that can unlock many new donors for you

Need some inspiration?

Offering donors choice has been the foundation of many a charity’s fundraising success. And they’ve been doing it for decades. For inspiration, check these out:

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