Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Are your Data Protection statements improving supporter relationships or hindering them?

Oh no, I hear you cry - a post about data protection.  Well, it is and it isn't. We have all heard about the EU plans to reform the current legislation, the outcome of which could be with us as early as 2017 and much of which could have a serious impact should it go ahead as is.

However, this post is more about how we can better frame data protection and what it means in order to strengthen relationships with potential and existing supporters rather than jeopardising them through a lack of understanding.

So, a short tale - with an happy ending.

Very recently one of Sense's supporters emailed to cancel his Direct Debit. He didn’t like being telephoned and had received a call recently. We let him know how much we really valued his support and of course that we would do what he asked but also let him know that we can communicate with him in the way he prefers. If that means no future telephone calls then of course. The supporter as a result decided not to cancel his direct debit. 

A big high five for good supporter care! 

However, what was interesting, was the supporter's understanding before we explained we would ensure that he wouldn't receive further calls:
"I didn't realise at the time I sent the e-mail that it was possible not to be 
contacted in this way."

Interesting really - the thought that some of our supporters who opt-in or don't opt-out of receiving various communications from us feel it is for life rather than that there is a control that is in their hands.

In this instance we were able to explain this to our kind donor who continued his support.  But how many are silently leaving without that dialogue?

So though the legal guidelines are set in terms of gaining consent to communicate, a simple line stating that you can let us know at any time should your wishes change should be a clear message alongside any data protection statements.

This simple message may very well help ensure that instead of a supporter leaving entirely because they decide they don't like a channel of communication after all, that they just let us know and allow us to adhere to their wishes and provide great supporter care at the same time.

Thanks as ever for stopping by.

Friday, 7 November 2014

What we can learn from Where's Wally?

Creating something people will actively look at and respond to is what drives the communications we produce as fundraisers, and that is why 'Where's Wally' can offer such inspiration.  Mainly because that is the main point.  Visually arresting scenes, where readers scour the pages in pursuit of an array of characters as well as Wally (a traveller with a penchant for red and white stripes and bobble hats), while taking in the visual puns and humour that entertains us.

So relevance to us as fundraisers?  One is around the truth that very few supporters will be compelled to read our communications and if they do, not in same detail and possibly with the same level of interest or purpose.

Engagement with communications is easier if the format suits the audience and not the designer - finding Wally is much easier when you have the bigger books for example.

There's nothing wrong with repetitiveness of either the story or the ask within it. Where's Wally has been around since 1987, it's ultimately the same thing but in different contexts, yet it still doesn't get old.  The important things is relevance to the person reading.

On the other side of this though, is some of the things that are inherent in the success of Where's Wally, which we should try to avoid.

The characters are intentionally hidden and obscured, the challenge is to find them.  This is the opposite of what your copy and design needs to. Too clever, and you lose people. Too complicated people will not persevere to understand what you are saying. So be clear on the following:

Why are you writing now?
What are you asking them to do - exactly?
If it's money you are asking for it, then ask!

On this point Where's Wally is clear, you need to find him and his friends. Simple. And there is a lot to be said for it.  Now back to Wally, I am sure I saw woof's tail somewhere...

Thanks as ever for stopping by.