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Your donor went the extra mile - did you?

By Claire Fuller | Fundraising Creative Marketing News | 28 June 2017

Is “going the extra mile” important to you?  At Yeomans, going above and beyond is in our DNA, it’s even part of our performance review evaluation standards, but what does it actually look like?

This week James has been in East Africa where he’s been able to see first-hand the impact of a client’s work transforming lives.  Along the way he met with another client for a coffee in Nairobi!  Our offices are both in the UK, less than 40 miles apart, so travelling more than 4,200 miles for a coffee might seem a little strange, but it was appreciated and provided amusement to all involved, plus, it’s a great illustration of the difference we can make by “going the extra mile” for others.

Figuratively speaking we all know that to go the extra mile means doing more than what is needed, but that can take many different forms, particularly in how we approach interactions with supporters.

10 ways to “go the extra mile” for your supporters:

  1. Say “thank you” really well – Everyone loves to feel valued.  A simple, yet personal (and even better, hand-written, or in person) message to thank supporters for their donation, or involvement with your cause speaks volumes
  2. Get to know your supporters as more than a number on a database – As we prepare for the introduction of the GDPR in 2018 it’s more vital than ever that we get to know our supporters and their likes and dislikes.  It’s important to know (and respect) their preferences concerning when and how you contact them.  Show them that you care! (If you’re unsure of the implications of GDPR for your organisation please get in touch)
  3.  Look after your supporters and their data – Personal information is a valuable commodity so it’s important that it’s looked after.  Not only is it a legal requirement to follow the Data Protection Act, it also builds trust which can encourage additional support.  If supporters trust you to handle and store their data and to respect their wishes concerning communications preferences they are likely to “sing your praises” to their friends, helping your audience grow
  4. Talk to them – With 412 million, active social media users currently in Europe (according to research by “we are social”) it’s likely that some of your supporter interaction will be through social media.  It can be tempting to schedule social media posts then sit back and think “that’s done”, but it’s important to monitor your accounts for comments or interactions received.  There are many different points of view about how organisations should respond to comments on social media and we can help you with developing your own organisation’s strategy.  Whatever approach you take, two key principles to remember are that:
    • Time is of the essence – Research shows that 42% of people expect a response within 60 minutes
    • You wouldn’t ignore a phone call – It’s generally recommended to reply to comments received via social media.  If someone has reached out to you on social media, its good practice to be there, ready to respond.  A word of caution – remember that social media comments are an extremely public forum    
  5. Show them that you care – By keeping records of donations it’s possible to spot unexpected changes (such as missed regular donations) so you can respond appropriately. It might be tempting to contact a supporter and ask why they’ve stopped their support, but a slightly different approach can have a huge impact.  Simply showing your concern for the supporter by contacting them to ask if they are ok (and perhaps even sending a small gift) shows that you care about more than their bank balance
  6. Visit them (or encourage them to visit you) and find out their story – Many charities spend a lot of time telling stories about their beneficiaries and the impact of supporting them.  How often do we take time to find out the stories of our supporters?  Consider talking to your supporters to find out their stories and reasons for supporting your organisation.  Not only will this help them to feel valued and listened to, but a sensitively shared story can have a great impact on motivating others to get involved too
  7. Be creative – Being respectful of communications preferences, keep your communications with supporters fresh and creative, so they find it a surprise (and a joy) to hear from you!  Consider varying your communications to include elements like newsletters, phone calls, handwritten notes and invitations to supporter events
  8. Personalise your communications – When you know  the name of your supporter, use it when you talk to them, and, if appropriate encourage them to do the same to you too
  9. Make it easy for supporters to get in touch with you – and ask them to get in touch with you!  If an organisation is easy to communicate with and shows that they want to engage in conversation this builds trust
  10. Make promises (don’t generalise) - but don’t make promises you can’t keep! – Supporters like to be kept informed about how their support helps, but not to be given “fluffy promises”

There are many more ways to go the extra mile to help supporters feel valued and appreciated.  What would you add to the list?

If you’re looking for some inspirational ideas for your next mailing or fundraising campaign to demonstrate that you’re pleased to go the extra mile for your supporters and beneficiaries, please get in touch, we’d love to help!

References and acknowledgements:

we are social
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