Welcome back to the Giant Squid Group Stewardship Survey, where I’m exploring how the organizations who solicit me for money build relationships with me after I’ve made a gift. What does it feel like to be a donor? What excites, motivates, and inspires me, and what leaves me wanting more?
I’m updating the survey monthly through 2019 (and beyond?) Stay up to date by signing up for the Giant Squid Group newsletter.
Giant Squid Group Stewardship Survey: Month Two
The year so far: $231 in donations to 16 organizations.
January at a glance
In January, I donated to six organizations (same as December! Coincidence? We’ll find out!):
National Wildlife Federation
Central Texas Food Bank
Kitten Rescue Los Angeles
National Museum of Women in the Arts
KMFA (our local classical music station)
My smallest donation was $16 (the smallest amount listed on the National Wildlife Federation’s remittance card) and the rest of the organizations received a $20 donation.
My relationship with these organizations:
Literally none. I was not a previous donor, supporter, or volunteer for any of these organizations. There was one organization which I had offered professional advice at one point, but that was the extent of my relationship. Boy, was I surprise to be solicited by them!
Key takeaways: Are you segmenting your lists and are your solicitations going to the right people? Think about what it feels like for a donor or prospect to open your direct mail. Are they indifferent, excited, or annoyed ?
Making the Gift
One thing that has really surprised me so far is how hard is is to make gifts to these organizations! I don’t own a checkbook for Giant Squid Group. My personal checkbook is lost somewhere in the depths of my desk. When I receive a direct mail solicitation, I skim it, grab the remittance envelope, and head to my computer.
Of the six solicitations I received in January, only one made it clear how to give online. In fact, there were two gifts I almost didn’t make because of how hard it was for me to find out where and how to give.
Key takeaways: Make it idiot proof to give. Put the url to your giving page in your direct mail and on your remittance card. Sure, a lot of people still use checks, but a lot of us don’t.
Saying Thank You
Month two stewardship results continue to be about as sophisticated and inspiring as my 16-month old trying to eat cheerios with a fork, a real live event in the Giant Squid Group household. Here’s where we’re at:
16 gifts made
Three actual thank you notes received.
One said “Dear friend” which sent me into a bit of a childish funk. You can ask me for money by my name, merge it onto the envelope, but can’t get it into the letter?
Key takeaways: Gosh darn it, y’all, send a thank you letter. Use your donor’s names. I’m not your friend, yet.
New Donor Outreach and Other Stewardship
Oh em gee! I got a new donor welcome from Kalamazoo College! They patiently waited 10 years for me to make a first-time gift, then *bam*, new donor welcome postcard in the mail.
I also received a physical two-page brochure from another organization that did a nice job tying in the stories of their constituents, along with a remittance card. Interesting to receive another solicitation before I’ve gotten a physical thank you letter...
Takeaways for this month, or my current thoughts about this project
Holy avocado toast, I’m still getting a lot of solicitations.
Last month I wrote that the whole “is your donation page costing you money” thing that I wrote about last month was “super real.” I’m still having a surprisingly hard time figuring out how to give these organizations my dollars.
How did all these organizations get my information? Seriously - I know it’s 2019 and that privacy and data are basically nonexistent but I’m feeling like a bit of a commodity.
I want more new donor welcomes. They’re so fun! And a thank you letter now and then.
Looking forward to next month’s recap?
I can’t wait to see what next month brings Giant Squid Group. Make sure you don’t miss any Stewardship Survey updates! Sign up for the Giant Squid Group newsletter today (and get a free Fundraising 101 ebook!)