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You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me!

What’s the worst donor experience you’ve ever had?

I’m pretty hard to rattle. Sometimes I hear stories from donors about their experiences with the charities they support that shock me.  There are the rare one or two that have actually made me mad. This one did both.

My friend and I were discussing the organizations we support and how we come to those decisions. He disclosed that he’d been a monthly contributor for 3 years to a national organization because he believed they filled a much needed gap by providing meals to our elderly population, shut-ins, and disabled.

“That’s wonderful,” I say. “How do they show you your impact as a monthly donor?”

“I’ve never heard a word from them,” he says.

WHAT? I’m incredulous, horrified, actually. I’m embarrassed for the organization and for my friend.

Guess what I told him…”Stop giving to them! They don’t deserve your money!”

I was serious and I’m still serious about this.

If you don’t thank your donors, they will go away! Communication is the key to donor retention.

First of all, monthly donors are the gold in our donor families. They are loyal (clearly, as my friend’s 3-year commitment illustrates) and will usually stay with an organization far longer than one-time donors will.

Please treat your monthly donors with the respect they deserve. In three year’s time, he ought to have been receiving regular communications from this charity. He ought to know what his monthly contribution was allowing them to do. His gift was not a small donation amount, but a rather large one, especially for a monthly gift. (Even worse, right!)

Another missed opportunity for the charity is to be able to ask for another gift. Our monthly donors are truly excited about the work we do, and often can be a great place to turn when we have a more specific or urgent request. Without an ongoing communication with your monthly donors, you can’t make special, additional requests.

Monthly donors are gold – be sure you treat them as such! (click to tweet)

The next thing that got my blood pumping, was that when he did stop the automatic payments to that charity organization, he still never heard from them. Wow! Did they even know that we was donating multiple thousands of dollars to them each year? Incredible.

When a monthly donor stops giving, be sure to reach out to them. Many times a credit card has expired and they don’t know it’s linked to your organization. Sometimes, they’ve changed addresses or have other info changed that alerts you that their contribution did not get collected that month.

Use this opportunity to talk with your donor. Ask questions about why they give, what about your organization inspires them, what makes them so generous? Engagement opportunities exist in your day-to-day administrative tasks. Don’t let this one pass you by!


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