Wednesday, 22 October 2014

What Donors can learn from surveys

I am very much in favour of supporter surveys - ultimately if executed properly it can genuinely result in improving what we do as fundraisers and more widely as organisations.  That is of course the point - hopefully.  We learn new things about our supporters that can help us find other supporters, and it is a useful communication to provide supporters with other ways to engage with us.

On the other side of it though is the benefit that is passed on to the supporters themselves.  The opportunity to have an opinion, should they want to take it. An opportunity to feel that they are being listened to (as long as they are), and that in turn has a benefit for fundraisers because such opportunities provide great supporter care and often result in additional support.  All very positive.

But one of the less overt benefits for a supporter, which also has a positive benefit to the organisation is that of re-engagement or reconnection with the cause.  I say this from a recent experience.

I support Soi Dog Foundation - a great animal welfare organisation in Thailand concerned with the welfare of cats and dogs.  Very recently I was asked to complete a survey - which I did for two reasons. One because they asked and two, because they asked so nicely in a way that made me feel they valued my views.  A snippet of the email below:

Please, Let Us Know What You Think...
Dear Amanda,

I would like to personally thank you for your support of the dogs and cats who you help. It is you who are helping the animals. Your donations are what allows for this important life saving work to continue.
Soi Dog would like to know your thoughts about how your donations are used and how you feel we can best help dogs and cats working together.

Soi Dog runs a number of animal welfare programs and I'd like to get your feedback on how important you feel the various programs are.
Can I ask you a favour? Can you take a few moments and complete Soi Dog's Supporter Survey? Please take a moment and fill out the survey by clicking here or on the button below:

Much of the questions and the navigation were as you would expect - and it took the opportunity to find out what other ways I would be willing to support and also whether I was interested in Gifts In Wills (I am expecting a legacy follow up at some point), but what was more thought provoking was two questions asked towards the end.

1. What is it uniquely about Soi Dog that led to you becoming a supporter?
2. If you could summarise Soi Dog in three words, what would those words be?

I really needed think in order to answer them honestly and fairly.  Amazing really how difficult a question 'What led to your support of xx' is to answer instantly beyond 'I care about animals' for example.  Yet, we often start telephone scripts with such questions in the hope to build a dialogue.  

So, what was it about the charity that specifically made me want to support?  What three words would I use?  The process of recalling the when and they why brought back the feelings attached to my initial decision thus reinvigorating my support.  

Don't get me wrong, they were not deeply suppressed feelings, and I am not in the inertia marketing phase by any means but it was a genuinely re-affirming experience.

So much so, that when I saw a recent campaign and donation ask around the Soi Dog's work around the Dog Meat trade I signed the petition and donated to fund a billboard! (great campaign by the way).

Today, I also received a very lovely email, thanking me for taking the survey and how important my opinions are but also playing back my key support - which I thought was a nice touch. 

This is of course not rocket science, but I wanted to share it, because it is easy to focus on what we can learn through such communications, but may be forget the value they have for the person completing them and actually with a bit of thought could actually proactively remind supporters of why they support you in the first place.

Thank you as ever for stopping by.