Fred Rogers has been on many minds this year. If you are like me, you can’t wait for the release of the new film in which Tom Hanks plays the beloved Rogers.
In my e-book Channeling Fred Rogers I speak about five qualities that I believe Mr. Rogers possessed, qualities that fundraisers might emulate.
- Realizing that fundraising is not about you
- Fundraising as Education
- Donor Love
Donor Love is last on the list. However, I tell nonprofits that they might just raise more money if they showed their donors a bit more love.
When you are in love don’t you want to know everything about the other person, e.g., their favorite color, foods they prefer, movies on their top ten list and so on? Similarly, if you plan to ask someone for $100, $100,000, or $1 million would you not want to know who and what matters to them and why?
Lately, I have been reading and writing about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in fundraising — see Fundraising and AI: Is a Bot Coming to Take My Job? published by Charity Channel. Believe it or not, collecting data, the right data (using AI in some cases) and using it well can help answer these questions.
In How Donors Choose Among Nonprofits the folks at The Agitator provide some guidance regarding best practices. They suggest that we come to understand the identities of our donors. Why does this matter?
Even if you don’t feel loved by Amazon, or Netflix, or another service to which you subscribe you probably have the sense that they know you. When you receive a push message from Netflix that says “Sam you might enjoy more cat movies” do you click on the link that they send? If you said yes you give evidence that employing data, the right data in the right ways, to know your donors can be employed to show your donors some love.
Here’s one quick example, if you haven’t ever done so, run a list of all of the donors who have made a gift to your nonprofit for 10 or more years (20 or 25 years if your nonprofit has been in existence for decades). How many donors are on that list?
Have you ever given those donors some extra recognition shown them some love for the love they have so loyally shown to your nonprofit? If not, today’s the day! Run the list, call the donor who has given the longest, thank her or him for their extraordinary commitment, you’ll be glad you did. (FYI this is an example of the use of descriptive data).
Oh, and don’t stop there, keep on calling. You may learn some very interesting reasons why donors value your nonprofit so very much. As well, you may discover that at least a few, maybe more, of these people have included your nonprofit in their estate plans!
Do you call loyal donors to say a special thank you? Do you have a loyal giving society? If so I hope you will share here, I would LOVE to hear from you!