How well do you know your donors?

Do you take every opportunity to gather AND record valuable information about your donors? Whilst not every organisation has the resources to send out and administer comprehensive donor surveys, every organisation should be ensuring that it is capturing relevant information about its supporters as it is acquired.

An important part of knowing your donors is keeping track of not only the gifts they make, but the appeals they are sent that they don’t respond to. Having that information will allow you to analyse which types of appeals or topics are more successful with particular donor segments. Knowing what did work as well as what didn’t work will help you analyse past appeals and strategically plan for future ones.

By recording information you gather or that is volunteered to you about what particular interests your donors have in your organisation and its work, you can analyse what types of stories should be told in your newsletters and appeals. You can also tailor your communications to your donors to ensure that they are receiving information that is really valuable to them and keeps them engaged in your mission.

Ensure that you are keeping track of donors’ preferences if they tell you they don’t want to receive certain types of communications, or prefer e-receipts or prefer to be addressed by their first name only, etc…. By taking donor requests into account, you will retain their esteem and save money by not sending out unnecessary communications.

Even if you don’t have the ability to fulfil their wishes now (maybe you don’t have the resources to create e-receipts yet) recording their preferences immediately helps you measure whether or not implementing a change in processes is worthwhile and cost-effective by knowing how many people would like or prefer it.

Whilst gathering information about your donors is useful, remember that it is only worthwhile if you can use that information to tailor the way you communicate with them and the types of information you are sending them.