Monday, 11 November 2013

Life's ups and downs and why it could change how you view lapsed supporters

There is a great song lyric by Barry White 'You always have my unspoken passion,
although I might not seem to care.'
Now in any relationship this is not much use really.  It's good to know of course (if people ever tell you that), but in terms of relationship building and understanding - well it's all a bit rubbish to be honest. 

When  you think about it though, it is probably more common than you think.

Life's events like birth, deaths, marriages they all have a profound affect on relationships - even the strongest ones. Just from my own experience of late - life changes. It throws you curve balls, it means time is something that doesn't exist in the same way as before and your priorities change. 

Therefore, how supporters engage with your cause may not be all that different.  After all, they are people with lives and life events change things and as a result they may not be able to engage with you in the same way as previously.  But I think the worst assumption that we can make therefore is that they all no longer care.

Looking at it from a basic RFV model, in relation to my own commitment to the causes I support and admire based on recent behaviour I would probably be a lapsed cash giver on a few files. The irony is that I like the causes just as much as before, admire the work and am probably still supporting them through Regular Giving - but believe it or not I just fail to get the donation form in the BRE and into the post.  I don't think I am alone.  

What that means in a lot of cases is that I stop receiving appeals, or I get letter variants referring to the 'past support' I have shown.  When if you looked at the data I may have given to every appeal I was sent three years previously.

Now, this is not an argument  for continuing to mail or communicate with 'lapsed' givers in exactly the same way as before, of course some people don't want to support you any more  - but I think there is an argument for looking at it from the supporter perspective and acting accordingly.  

This is where working to know as much about your supporters, their life stages, their giving patterns and appreciating the changes in life stage will have an impact on their giving could provide us with a valuable opportunity.  One that allows us to better tailor what we do, how we communicate, how we ask and how we facilitate that support.

DD uplift for one month only as an alternative way of cash giving was something that worked amazingly well when we trialled it at ActionAid - just a tick box. It's still being used. Use of SMS could be so much more than PSMS or RGPSM - it could be a useful way for people to direct and instruct on their giving.  My thinking is as much about breaking down barriers to giving as to understanding what the barriers are in the first place.

It can be tempting to give up on friends if they never get in touch or can't ever make your requests to meet - but in understanding those demands and the pressures acting on your friends ultimately makes for a stronger relationships.  Of course the challenge is knowing who is worth the patience but it is worth weighing that up before you decide to stop communicating with whole groups of people entirely.

Thanks as ever for stopping by.