All donors are different

Different people

Wouldn't it be nice...if one smashing pitch would appeal to all donors and prospects? Then we could spend endless hours crafting that one solicitation and watching it produce wonderful results!

Unfortunately our constituents are not a homogenous group. They come in different ages, giving abilities, level of interest in the organization, level of attention they are likely to pay to various media presentations, forms in which they like to give, preferences, perspectives. They have previously touched the organization or issue in the method of their own choosing. Segment your audiences and target your asks so that Mr. B is “asked” in the way he is mostly likely to respond. By delivering the right message to the right types of people, you will see significant improvements in your results!

Although your message for this year might be the same across the board, your constituents will encounter that message in the medium of their preference. A two-hundred word email is not reader-friendly to the email crowd. They’re accustomed to a strong quick hit, not a treatise. Someone interested in volunteering gets a different pitch than someone possibly interested in planned giving. Your approach to businesses should highlight a different side of the story from the way you approach young parents, for example. The message to a donor is different from the message to someone who is not yet a donor. What is relevant to the interests of some donors is a turn-off to others.

Do your homework. Learn all you can from your donors and from other fundraisers. For example, in planned giving, the 40-50 year old age group typically produces the highest number of returns and highest amount of donation, not the over 60-crowd you currently target.  People under thirty respond most enthusiastically to participation events, not gala dinners. Since you don't want to burn out your audience with messages that have little interest to them, it is crucial to use segmented lists for as many of your communications as is possible.

As you plan your “pieces” for the coming year, give some serious thought to “who gets what” and strive to send the piece with the right appeal to each donor!

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