Friday, 23 October 2015
Let there be (relationship fundraising) light.
It wasn't so much a light bulb moment, rather illumination. Bear with me, the puns have a reason.
This week I received a little leaflet from a well known shop - it wasn't a full catalogue, just a few pages promoting lights, with a little inducement to buy .. the usual sales promotion.
Now as I flicked through the mini brochure, my husband made a comment, 'you bought one light and now you are on a list'. 'Yep', I replied,' that's how it...works'. Oh dear, I thought - this is all based on rather large assumption or presumption. As a colleague noted, a bit like going on one date and changing your Facebook status to 'in a relationship'.
And aren't we often very guilty of that presumption ourselves in the charity sector?
Someone who donates once, we label them a donor or supporter or even differentiate and put 'new' at the start, but they are not are they? We then work tirelessly to appeal to these new people to inspire them (hopefully) to support with another gift - without understanding why they gave in the first place, what their expectation is of that gift and what that gift means in terms of inviting on-going dialogue? But we've all seen the stat, the one that shows just how few people do actually go on to give again....
I did buy a light from the shop, it was a great light... and should I want another light I would think of the company because of how good their light was - It's still working and looks great, and not because they want to sell me some lights today. The question they have not asked me, but assumed is that I am in the market for another light.
Some could argue that data protection ascertains this... well it might if for the longest time it wasn't hidden in small print at the bottom of the page. But even then not really.
In reality, there will always be a % of people who have given to you once, that have no intention of going on to do so again - irrespective of what the data protection opt-in and outs say. Then there are those that I am sure haven't really thought that far ahead but what that means is the thank you is a critical stage - this is not the time for an admin letter style no, this is time for real demonstrable gratitude and inspiration. Wow them!
So as well as building great relationships with supporters we need to make sure that people want a relationship in the first place - and we need to be braver about asking that. If they do - give them the power to dictate what that relationship is. We can then work our hardest to ensure that this is the most rewarding and enjoyable relationship in the world!
And for those that don't? Well these kind people have given to your cause, received a wonderful thank you and importantly been given a choice which may one day convert into a relationship and one of great value, but even if not, at least they will have had a wonderful experience and will be likely tell others about it.
Thanks as ever for stopping by.