CDE project 11b: rec­om­men­da­tions to improve the donor expe­ri­ence — two and three

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 28, 2017

Recommendation 2: Think about how donors FEEL. 

Always come back to this. Map how you want them to feel at each point in your customer journey plans. Measure how it impacts loyalty over time, and generosity. 

Then take the opportunity to talk and listen to your donors – use the phone, face to face meetings and surveys (on and offline) to ask them how you are doing. 

Example 1: The National Autistic Society

The NAS sent supporters this survey on autism and gave people the chance to provide feedback on their work and gather information on people’s connection to the cause (i.e. do they have or do they know someone with autism).

Example 2: Transform MQ

As a relatively new mental health charity, Transform MQ undertook a national survey to find out more about potential supporters. The charity were particularly pleased with the response they received from the 45-55 age group.

Recommendation 3: Be an ambassador, as well as a fundraiser

Use direct mail to engage supporters with your wider work and the difference they are making to your beneficiaries. 

Example 1: Supporter newsletters

Newsletters can be a great way to keep supporters informed and inspired about your work.

Tom Ahern’s Raising more money than you ever thought possible from newsletters contains a complete guide to writing great supporter- focussed newsletters. 

On the Bloomerang fundraising blog, ( Tom also explains the approach of the now defunct, North American fundraising agency Domain and their successful ‘formula’ for supporter newsletters:

  • Page count: no more than 4 pages (in tests, adding more pages did not produce more revenue)
  • Article length: short
  • Write for skimmers (i.e., requires professional quality headlines)
  • Include a separate reply device
  • Don’t get distracted: be fully donor-committed. Send only to your donors. You have to talk to a single target audience
  • Make the voice personal (the word “you” dominates) rather than institutional; get intimate
  • Focus on “accomplishment reporting” (tell donors how much they have changed the world through their gifts)

Here are a few front page images from UK supporter newsletters:

British Red Cross – LifeMatters

Example 2: RNLI invite to a lifeboat station

RNLI send a personal invitation to visit a lifeboat station. They do this as it gives them a chance to thank supporters and give them a chance to meet the crew and see first-hand the impact of their donations.

Click on the image below to view project 11b in full - PDF format.

About the author: The Commission on the Donor Experience

The CDE has one simple ideal – to place donors at the heart of fundraising. The aim of the CDE is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use.

Related case studies or articles

CDE project 11b summary: direct mail

How can we plan better as a sector to avoid individuals being inundated with our communications and ensure that that our messages get the attention they deserve rather than all being lost in such a crowded space?

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CDE project 11b: the three key and separate steps to crafting a great DM appeal

Step 1: the proposition. Step 2: the concept. Step 3: the do’s and don’ts of direct mail appeal writing and design. 

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CDE project 11b: part two - output from the direct mail workshop and recommendations to improve the donor experience

Examples of direct mail and recommendations to improve the donor experience. Recommendation one. 

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CDE project 11b: recommendations to improve the donor experience - four and five

Recommendation 4: Be smart with data

Recommendation 5: Have a great offer and compelling reason to give

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CDE project 11b: recommendation 6 - thank properly and great customer service

Thank personally and quickly. As project 6 on emotion recommends, fundraiser’s should aspire to be ‘famous for frequent, fast, fabulous feedback’. 

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CDE project 11b: appendix 1

Additional income plus cost savings from a digital print strategy - a direct mail case study from World Vision. 

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