Thursday, 7 March 2013

In pursuit of happiness

I was recently reading some information about Sense's supporter base in the context of attrition and was struck by the the length of support of some of the supporters.  Not because it was unexpected. I am sure many charities have cohorts of people who have been giving 5, 10, 20 plus years in the same way that we have people, (not using the word supporter here), who have not given at all or those that have lasted less than a year.

What it did make me realise though, is that as an industry we tend to focus on why people stop giving - not a bad thing - as we now have great insights as to what we can do to meet people's needs to keep them supporting for longer.  But still, I feel less focus has been on exploring why people are actually still giving. After all very few people start giving without reason there are various reasons and influences, conscious and subconscious. We measure net promoters scores and have satisfaction surveys but we don't proactively ask what has kept someone giving these past 5 years, the last decade, the last two decades and use this knowledge to inform the next twenty years.

Even from a supporter care perspective, acknowledging and recognising this amazing commitment is a good thing to do but phoning and having a chat and asking some of these kind people what has kept them giving to you despite recessions, changes in there life stages and possibly as a result, their financial circumstances, as well as changes in your organisation's brand for example would be brilliant to know.  After all, they are doing what you have asked of them - they have made the choice to act and are continuing to do so - even if this is through inertia. Though interesting article here on why inertia is no bad thing.

Of course some of this will be covered off in your own research - whether it be focus groups or in-depth interviews.  But I am not sure the starting point will be framed so positively i.e. 'what keeps you happily supporting xxx?'

So along with lapsed donor research, I will look forward to 'Retained donor research' as well and will start by doing some of my own.  After all we all are in pursuit of the state of the happy donor - and though we may be being a little presumptuous that they are - we should at least ask on that basis.

And of course I would love to hear if anyone has been exploring the happiness of their donors and what they found out.

Thanks as ever for stopping by.