Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Is it too late to start really looking after your donors?

Matt Parkes from bluefrog just posted an interesting piece about relationship marketing/fundraising in light of the current economic climate and the credit crunch.

In his posting, Matt indicates that he feels that it's probably a little late for serious investment in this area, given that what we are really doing is reacting to the turbulent times we are currently faced with.

I'm not so sure. Let's face it, most of the ingredients that bake the 'relationship fundraising' cake are fairly straightforward and easy to put in place. Being really nice to people, feeding back where their money has gone, keeping them updated, showing real impact and so on..

In theory easy things to do. In practice, maybe not so easy, as our mystery shopping studies over the past few years have illustrated.

But the point is: investing in CRM, supporter relationship management, relationship fundraising - call it what you will, doesn't necessarily mean enormous investments in sophisticated technology. It's actually about getting back to basics.

Matt says that "differentiation by customer service is increasingly important". I couldn't agree more.

I say this with a facetious tone in my voice: differentiating yourself from someone else could be as simple as thanking and thanking appropriately within two days, rather than four weeks...

He also goes on to suggest that "fundraisers must start to engage with donors, for example by regularly spending time with Supporter Services, opening post and seeing what they're saying about their appeals." Simple, but so true.

As I recently posted, let's not allow tradition to become destructive and inhibit growth. I often see silly things happening purely and simply because that's the way they have been done for the last 1, 2, 10 years...

Doing the things that we know are right, that enhance the relationship we have with our donors and ultimately translates to more value, don't have to be extortionately expensive in both time and dollars. Even if doing the 'right things' require a shift from the way you have 'traditionally' done something - if it makes sense then just do it.

Remember, let's get back to basics.

Jonathon

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