Monday, 5 November 2012

Four mistakes Christian charities make when approaching donors

The first mistake is treating everyone in the same way. The fact of the matter is that different donors are at different stages of their relationship with the charity – some need to be encouraged to make their first gift, others need to inspired to give again or to give larger gifts and others need to be nudged gently to renew their support.

Another mistake is failing to incorporate the donor’s reasons for giving in fundraising appeals. In other words, the appeals are often ‘ministry-centric’ focused on what the charity needs to do its mission, donors are asked to stand in the gap to support the charity to meet its financial targets and so on.

The thing is donors are not interested in helping the charity meet its financial targets they are interested in changing lives, impacting the world, seeing the Gospel spread and so on. The more you talk about their/ the donors reasons for giving to change the world, to impact lives etc the more you are going to get the donor’s attention and their money.

A third mistake is that some Christian charities fail to thank donors appropriately. I have seen one too many response forms lately where the charity is asking the donor to tick a box if they don't want to be thanked. And they proudly state that 'thanking donors costs money - so they are cutting the costs by not thanking people.' In my opinion, this is a big mistake. Why? 

Because most donors want to hear whether the charity got the money they sent and how that money will be used. They also want to be assured that they have made a difference and feel involved in the charity's work. A good thank you letter does all these things...makes a donor feel special and satisfied that they have done the right thing. And, the truth is - satisfied donors keep giving to the charity for the long run. 

A fourth mistake is that many Christian charities fail to engage with potential supporters. In other words, they fail to invest sufficiently in getting new donors. I have come across many charities whose donor bases are ageing rapidly and where some donors have stopped giving a long time ago but they are still being mailed. These charities get a handful of new donors every year and they lose a few hundreds. I genuinely believe that there are sufficient funds out there, in the potential donors’ bank accounts but Christian charities are not accessing these funds because they are not working hard enough to engage with these potential donors. 

Is there anything else you would like to add to this list? 

No comments: