Most of the donations to your school will be made because someone asked for them, and if you get personal with your fundraising messages you will raise more money. Schools who customize their communications are more likely to:
- Retain donors for longer periods of time
- Generate more loyalty
- Create higher levels of donor satisfaction.
Success in seeking major gifts requires personal meetings with prospective donors, but donors who give smaller investments will continue to be solicited by mail. Mass production of letters, annual fund reports, and magazines (that feature stories about how you are effectively achieving the mission and goals) is more efficient and cost effective, and you will maximize donor engagement—the ultimate goal for participation and involvement—by making these communications highly personalized via data integration.
Personalizing the experience for each donor pays multiple dividends for your Annual fund and/or capital campaign efforts. The first step of donor engagement is getting to know them, creating a data profile that enables you to understand their background, interests, priorities and goals.
Such “donor intimacy” enables you to more creatively and effectively create a shared vision that is energizing for the relationship. They sense a higher degree of impact and influence, which generates greater commitment to the cause.
The company we use to cost-effectively manage data integration and print production is Direct Data Communications (DDC). They have the technology and resources to produce highly-customized letters, donor reports, and very creative solicitation pieces that get the job done.
Imagine, for example, an Annual Fund magazine that includes specific gift information, family pictures, and areas of interest for each donor based on the data you have wisely collected. That’s why sophisticated schools and non-profits rely on DDC’s expertise to generate personalized materials that help them raise more money.
The secret to your fundraising success is knowing when, how, and why your donors want to be engaged. Schools tend to think that they don’t communicate with donors enough, but most donors consider the information they receive from you as enough or even too much.
The bigger problem, though, is that you are using the wrong message for your communications, focusing too much on the level of donor contributions rather than creating a narrative that generates positive emotions and a concrete ROI.
You may choose to send communications to your donors annually, bi-annually, quarterly or even monthly as part of your engagement effort. Be consistent with your cycles of messaging, and reserve your creativity for the content. Your goal is to make donors the heroes of your stories, helping them see and feel the impact of their gifts. Obviously, personalizing those communications will help make the connection more real.
Would personalization your donor experience increase giving and retention? Will it give you a competitive edge? Can you raise more money to fund your plans? You might be surprised at the return on investment from customized solicitations and communications. Give it a try.