Everything that is wrong with our retention programmes and how to put them right

Is anyone’s loyalty programme actually working (and, just to clarify, I’m using the more traditional definition of ‘working’ as you used to lose loads of donors but now you don’t)?

I’ve never met anyone (who wasn’t selling such a programme) who could answer ‘yes’. But that doesn’t stop us squandering enormous amounts of time, energy and money on an entirely unproven ‘best’ practise that’s making things worse. I know several fundraising directors who know for sure retention got worse after they introduced their loyalty programmes. But they continue to run them. It would be funny if it wasn’t tragic. untitled (more…)

Shouldn’t ‘Best’ Practises Do Better?

Have you ever noticed that no matter how hard you work, no matter how you segment your file, and no matter what ‘story’ you tell nothing ever changes? It doesn’t matter what agency you use or what you test, year in year out net result is predictably and depressingly, the same. Yes, there are shining exceptions, but they’re exactly that. On the whole our sector hasn’t seen real mission impacting growth since the 1970’s (in other words since before many of us were born!)


Where to find all that money you’re losing


You’re grocery shopping on a tight budget. You’ve got everything you need and a few things you want. You approach checkout knowing the £40 in your pocket will just about cover everything. But when you come to pay you find you’ve lost £10. Do you:

1)      Look for the missing £10 (you know you had it a moment ago)?

2)      Decide to do without a quarter of what you intended to get? (more…)

The Promise of Customer Service and of Making a Difference

2 euro coinTwo sides of the same coin.

When we solicit a gift, we are making a promise to our donors.  We promise to manage their money with care.  We pledge to spend it as we agreed, advertised, stated in our appeal.  We promise that the donor’s investment will accomplish something important, change or save a life, protect our planet and its inhabitants, advance our faith and values, achieve real good.

If we are wise, we also promise customer service in addition to making a difference.  At the time of solicitation, we promise to report on the impact the donor has made.  To connect the donor with that outcome.  Donors Choose, for example, makes a promise up front that they will spend your money as agreed or return it to you if they can’t fulfil their promise.  They state on their website that you will hear from the teachers and students your investments support.  In clear, concise language, they promise customer service and making a difference. (more…)

Panning for gold

Identifying those crucial supporter insights that underpin all great new fundraising products In preparing for our Innovation Masterclass at the IFC, Andrew Bathgate of Good Innovation, Rob Cummins of ActionAid UK and myself were clear Read more…

If you would like to be sent a thank you, please tick this box

When did thank you become so difficult?

For years, the top 250 charities in the UK have been receiving over 90% of donations made, and yet donor attrition rates are holding steady between 15 and 35 per cent annually.

thankyouTo combat this, they have developed more and more ways to say thank you, to create ‘touch points’ with their donors, to explain what £3 a month could do — but they should take the lead from some of their small charity cousins who, instead of a donor development strategy and a ‘contact chart’ simply respond back with a simple but heartfelt “THANK YOU so much for your donation, with it we can keep doing good work on your behalf.” (more…)

If only we could be like Chimpanzees

6132905924_b09da86926_mWho doesn’t love a good office gossip on Monday morning? Since this blog is a safe haven for us as fundraisers, it is time to share our real feelings about our non-fundraising colleagues. You know whom I mean.

No, not the communication team! They are all right. Besides that: we still need them for our donor magazine and to get our ‘donate-now-button’ on the website. What about the colleagues sitting on the other side of the corridor? No, neither the guys from the program! All though they have no clue about fundraising, they can provide us with concrete and tangible projects for our fundraising campaign. (more…)