Saturday, 16 October 2010

Ways to make your supporters 'Tingle'

'Inspiration' is increasingly becoming a key motivating factor for giving - but the key challenge is knowing whether what we send to our supporters is genuinely 'inspiring'. After all, inspiration is a very subjective thing.

Some things to think about:
  • Do you know enough about your supporters to know what would, could, should inspire them? If not, then find out - and at every opportunity. We can never know too much about our supporters.
  • Knowing the difference between magic dust and hygiene factors? What does inspiration look like to your supporters? "Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something" - based on this definition to me, it is essentially everything we do as an organisation. Therefore, the most inspiration can be given by living up to the expectations we have set for our supporters. Of course the 'tingle factor' (as I like to call it) will help hugely in any communication - but it is the overall perception of your organisation that will be affected if everything else doesn't deliver and that's no matter how inspiring one piece of communication is.
  • What keeps you inspired? It is difficult to inspire others if you are not yourself. Inspiration should be a key part of the culture of organisations as should donor-centricity - but whether or not that is the case - it still needs to come from within. So take the time to speak to as many supporters as you can. Regularly visit the work and/or speak to as many people involved in it as possible. Empathy is great but no substitute for real closeness.
  • Can you see beyond the obvious? I am sure we have all waited for that fantastic case study or story because we know that it will better move, and motivate people into the action we want. But the practicality is that waiting can some times jeopardise deadlines. Therefore, it is important to view all stories like that, or at least ensure you have the skills to ensure that the most is made of every story, photograph and quote that we have. Obviously certain stories will resonate better than others - but it is a good skill to see beyond the obvious to create something that is still rather good.
  • Are you using the right channels? We can't inspire supporters if our communications are never opened and seen . Providing communications that people are excited about is key - but increasingly it is also about the channels chosen and ensuring the mix is right. After all the execution and delivery of your messages can be just as inspiring as the communications themselves.
  • Do you have a 'Tingle-o-metre'? The next time you send out a survey or feedback form to supporters - why not send out a tingle-o-metre for them to complete. That way you can ask supporters to fill in the things about your work that inspires them and mark them on a scale of what makes them 'tingle' about your work or what leaves them cold. Creatively it could be more inspiring than just a survey and it may offer some really interesting insights into what inspiration means to your supporters - rather than what you think it is.
Inspire away!