CDE project 18 sec­tion 3.6: action 7 — be ready to react

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 13, 2017

As your story begins to spread by your supporters, you should get an increase in inbound enquiries or offers of support that are not a result of a direct response communication, i.e. they are a result of people hearing your story from others they know and trust. These are likely to be from a range of sources and may even seem quite random. 

Responding to such enquiries can often be put off, as they do not fit a direct response system, such as a completed coupon from an appeal. Yet the time when the person calls or presses send on the email to your info@ or general email address is when they are clearly engaged. So, the ability to react to their enquiry and engage them at the earliest possible opportunity is critical. There may be other moments you can identify, such as when someone sets up a fundraising page for your charity. Are you ready to react when these moments occur? For example, SolarAid has introduced a simple chat function that visitors to their website can use to start a conversation with one of the team. The same applies to social media and being able to have conversations with people who engage with you. 

The community fundraising team at Anthony Nolan meet first thing at 9:30 am every morning, and then again at 2:30 pm in the afternoon, to look at inbound emails they have received about new enquiries or offers to fundraise from individuals. Their aim is to respond within two hours of receiving an email and to speak to people as soon as possible (see the case example in Action 6).

Here is how Anthony Nolan prepared its entire staff so they are ready to respond.

Questions to ask: Have you mapped out the ‘many ways’ your supporters could help you? Is everyone who takes an inbound enquiry able to deal with that first conversation?

Click on the image below to view project 18 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.

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