We encourage organizations to have a donor-focused approach to their fundraising. We want to build a relationship with donors, and communicate to them in a way that deepens their affinity with the organization and cause. So if this is our goal, and if this is going to allow us to be more effective fundraisers, why are so many organizations funneling new names that come onto their file into their standard communication?
In order to be successful, it is important to recognize characteristics that distinguish these new individuals. You need to know if they are new to your online or offline file, how they came on your file and what their primary interests are.
If I signed up to receive communication from your organization, will the next message I receive be an eAppeal that comes a month later? Or would it be over 2 months before I get a postcard inviting me to an event in a location where I would not be able to attend? We cannot assume that every individual fits the same profile and has the same level of interest in your organization. If we speak to these individuals in a more personalized manner and are willing to “listen” to them, we will dramatically increase the chances of taking the relationship to the next level.
If you are going to successfully develop a relationship that leads to a donation, a second gift and even a recurring gift, it is critical to have a multichannel communication plan to integrate them onto your file. We encourage utilizing a three- to five-part online Welcome Series, along with a direct mail component, to appropriately introduce individuals to the organization and then begin move them toward the desired action.
Key elements to developing a successful Welcome Series:
- Identify the primary sources of new name acquisition
- Classify the distinguishing elements of these entry paths
- Set up variable messages based on those key/unique elements
- Introduce your organization/share the vision
- Provide a clear action-related item in each message
- Consume additional content
- Join social networks
- Share with friends
- Provide feedback on interests
- Make a one-time or recurring gift
- Thank them for their involvement
- Collect preferences and interests
Utilizing a Welcome Series will show your constituents that you appreciate their interest. It will allow you to communicate with them more effectively going forward, and it will ultimately lead to more dollars for your organization.