How To Effectively Personalize Your Donor Communication

May 24, 2017 - 9 minutes read

Right after my move to the city, my brother, Anish took over my old room. He moved in his colossal gaming rig, took down my Inspector Gadget poster from the wall it adorned for eleven years and moved the bed to make room for his gaming couch. Stepping in there the next time I visited, it didn’t feel like my room anymore.

It is funny how the bedroom of my present apartment feels more personal even though I only moved in last year. It has my favorite books on the nightstand, my Wayne Manor replica on proud display and an old Sonic alarm clock I couldn’t leave behind. These items actually make the room mine more than my accustomization to the place.

That is how personalization works. You don’t need years to develop familiarity; it is the minor quirks and conditions that come together to make something feel personal. This means there are distinct steps you could adopt to create a personalized experience for anyone.

how to personalise conversations with donors

Nurture a personalized donor relationship

Organizations wishing to retain donors should adopt simple practices which lead the donors to develop a special bond with them. Let’s explore some possible ways you can make communication with your donors more personal for them.

Identify their emotional connection to your cause

Every donor has their own distinct reason for giving their support to your organization. Be it the story related through your message, the goal you are working toward or a personal experience, something about your work made them connect to your cause. To develop a personalized line of communication, you have to identify the emotional connection the donor felt when they came onboard.

This way, the next time you reach out to them about an event or a fundraising round, you can structure the message to address this reason directly. Ask your donors to take a survey or call them to collect feedback to figure out the core bond. Maintaining a database of your donors will make it easier to plan your next approach.

Tell them how their contribution made a difference

Do you have a process to contact your donors after the event or fundraising campaign is over?

Do your donors know what results were reached?

You see, most donors trust the organization to spend their money in a justified way. You should build on that trust by sending your donors updates on how their money was spent. Call your donors, send them SMS updates or an email notifying them about their specific contribution. This will let the donors know you regard them, not just their money, as important to your efforts.

Make it about them. Tell the story of how the donor’s contribution went into improving the world. Focus on showing the donors how their help is vital in making a difference. Maintaining a line of communication will keep them close to the organization. They will also be willing to chip in the next time you are raising funds.

Send personalized event invites to top donors

Now, who are your top donors?

Well, that depends on your organization. They are not necessarily the donors who give the highest amount. Your top donors are the ones who have been donating regularly or are personally invested in your cause.

You must acknowledge the donors’ contribution in your past efforts and make future communication very specific for every one of them. Tell them how their donation was a big help in reaching your past goal when you invite them to participate in an upcoming event. You could do it over a text message or an email. However, a phone call is better for expressing your appreciation and the donor can perceive that you genuinely mean so.

Segment your donors to send personalized alerts

Of course, it is not possible to extend the same level of personalization for all of your donors. You could still tailor your messages so the donor feels it was meant especially for them.

Keep track of your donors over social media, identify their cause for giving through feedback or surveys and maintain a profile of giving behavior of different types of donors. Through this, you can segment your donor list into different categories of donors with different patterns of showing support.

Next time you have an event or an update for your donors create different messages for each segment. Keep their donating behavior and bond with your cause in mind when you create these alerts. The point is to make it personalized enough to evoke a response and loose enough so you don’t have to change it for every donor.

Get local to get personal

For donors, you contact over a phone call, get local volunteers from their area to make the calls. Subtle things like accent and mannerism go a long way in getting a positive response. People also like knowing that the person approaching them understands the general situation or quality of life in their world.

An excellent measure to get better responses is to call donors from a local number. This will give you better pickup rates. A local caller ID shows that you have a local presence in the area the donor is from. They will be more likely to donate when their support helps people from their own community.

Approach as a person, not as the organization

A key to personalizing communication is to present yourself as a person first. Sound pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Yet not many volunteers do that when they call donors. It makes quite a difference for the donor receiving the call. It makes the caller seem detached from the cause when you try to represent the entire organization. The donor may consider you one of many callers reading from a script.

Instead, you should approach as a person who is attached to the cause itself. Let them understand that you, the caller, are putting in your own time and effort to give the organization a leg up. That will encourage the donor to extend their support for the cause you are so passionate about.

Initiate a back n forth communication

A donor who is allied to a cause would be willing to support an organization which cares about the people affected by it. For that, you have to take a step to understand their sentiment better.

A call or an email that only pitches your goals to the donor appears unconcerned about their view. You have to take a step to bring the donor closer to the endeavor by fostering a two-way communication between them and the organization.

Ask for opinion, take suggestions and make calls to know their experience so far. Develop a healthy back and forth conversation where both you and the donor get to know each other better over time.

All these small steps come together to create a personalized experience for your donors. Over time, it will boost donor loyalty toward the organization because they feel you regard them specifically as important for your progress. You have to notice the traits of donors for your cause and sometimes come up with ways to personalize your communication with them.

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