Keep Your Donors with Good CommunicationDear John (or whatever your name is, I’m really not sure),

We’re done. We’re breaking up. I am leaving you as one of your donors, and I’d like to explain why.

It all started less than a year ago when I made my first gift. I was so excited to be able to give to your organization. I care about your cause and thought you might be able to do something about it. I could definitely see a link between giving you something and getting something done.

So, I sent you some of my hard earned money. I had thought about it, prayed about it and even talked to my spouse about it. Looking back, I really didn’t give to you out of any sense of obligation, but I guess I did have a few expectations. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

It seemed like a few days later, I got what looked like a bill from you—I assume a mailing you send to all of your donors. It was obviously just cranked out by your computer and printed on a cheap-looking form. It was very impersonal and didn’t even mention your cause or how my gift would help. It could have been from my utility company or cable TV provider; it was that impersonal. I appreciated that you issued me a receipt so quickly. But really, you could have taken a little more time to respond and treat me like a person who just gave you a gift! I would have appreciated at least a mention that my gift was something you appreciated and could use.

Things went from bad to worse between us right after that. After never hearing from you in any other way, I started getting barraged by your mailing service. I got a big, clunky magazine full of photos of you and your staff standing and grinning a lot. You were all over the place, talking about how hard you work and how dedicated you are. You talked a lot about you, and I wasn’t anywhere on any of the pages. It was like you didn’t need me to accomplish your mission, which is precisely why I gave in the first place.

Some of your mailings to me as your donor talked down to me. I felt like I was back in school and you were trying to teach me more than I will probably ever know about what you do. Look, I gave because I was trying to impact a cause I really care about, not because I wanted to become an expert at it. I felt like you cared more about me learning your technical jargon than helping me grow as a supporter of yours.

Not one time did you address me by name or engage me as a person. And worst of all, to this day, you haven’t sent me a single letter reporting back to me about what you did with the money I gave. But that didn’t stop you from asking for more!

You filled up my mailbox and clogged my inbox with spam asking me for another gift. Sometimes, your requests made no sense to me. They were for less or impossibly more than I had ever given. Sometimes, you asked me to support things I didn’t know about or care about. And all the while, you NEVER told me what you did with MY MONEY!

Look, I am busy. (And so are you, apparently, from reading your newsletters and mailings.) I usually don’t write complaint letters and I don’t want anything from you. I just wanted you to know that you really blew it. I was really interested in making a difference through my gift, but now I am just not sure if I believe all the hype you generate. Don’t ask me to come to another event, and for heaven sake, take me off your mailing list. We’re through.

Your Major Donor

Keep More Donors, Raise More Money

According to statistics developed through the American Fundraising Professional’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project, about 80% of first time donors are gone within 1 year. The average donor retention rate hovers around 47%, meaning that most organizations are keeping less than half their donors after three years.  Raising more money is pretty simple. It involves keeping more donors. If you’d like to talk about how to keep your donors, give us a call at (972) 304-1100. Or go online to request your free consultation to learn how to communicate to your donors that they are a great supporter of your ministry. 

Or get started with great Major Donor Conversations by requesting our free, Major Gifts Planning Kit, Abundant Harvest.