Having recently come back from a lovely holiday, at a lovely resort where we received a lovely welcome and recognition that we had been before what on earth could my gripe be I hear you ask?!
Well it is essentially this. We often put so much more thought and effort into the welcome, that we forget about the goodbye. A goodbye which if you want people coming back to use your service or in our context make a gift, run an event etc. should in fact be a continuation of that wonderful welcome. Instead it has often become transactional and administrative with little thought to when we might see them again or expressing in no uncertain terms that we'd like to.
Now in the context of fundraising and supporter engagement, is there really an end point - not really, we want to build meaningful on-going relationships with people who want to have relationships but if you look at each engagement a supporter has with you, there is frequently a process that will operationally conclude a certain stage of that engagement i.e. a thank you letter thanking someone for their gift. Is this the fundraising equivalent of checking out of a hotel and paying the bill? Where you pay for the lovely experience and hand over the credit card and receive the reams of paper, and a thank you from the reception staff... and then ....you leave. Mulling over the experience and them hoping you'll return at some point or not?
Of course, my experience isn't a terrible one by any stretch. People were nice, appreciative, asked if we had had a lovely holiday and wished us a safe flight and all that. All fine and appreciated. But I guess my point is that I think it could be better and I think at those critical stages of engagement - whatever they might be, I think more thought is required to ensure that the supporter's experience is a positive one laying the foundations for the next step.
So, what I am suggesting is that we look at all of those points, whether it be a thank you letter or a communication to a regular giver that has stopped their gift and ensure that we aren't saying 'goodbye' or 'goodbye forever' but instead asking 'when will we see you again? or at least demonstrating at that point that we'd love to see them again soon.
Thanks as ever for stopping by.