Improving donor communications

The Big Give is fortunate to work with the Childhood Trust, one of the generous Champions who provides match funding for the charities we support. CEO, Lisa Gagliani recently shared her thoughts on the importance of language for sustained philanthropy. Inspired by her insights, we have been thinking about the importance of language when communicating with your donors. Here is our advice on how you can improve your donor communications to maximise their fundraising potential.

Talk in plain English

It’s surprising how easy it is to lose or dilute your message by overcomplicating it. Make sure that your communications are always written in plain English which informs rather than alienates members of your audience. Don’t use unnecessary jargon or insider acronyms: remember that your donors are often not involved in your cause every day like you are.

Step into their shoes

In order to effectively communicate with your donors, you need to think and feel like them. It’s a worthwhile investment of your time to really get to grips with what motivates them to give to you, the nature of their relationship to your organisation, and their other experiences, interests and values. This will help you to devise communications and campaigns that genuinely connect with your donors. You can make sure that you stay focused on the donor by always referring to what they have contributed, rather than what ‘the organisation’ has achieved.

Show some love

In normal life, there are five different love languages available to express your feelings towards a loved one. The choice is more limited with your donors but the language of love is equally as important. Make sure that you express your gratitude for their previous donations, inform them about how this has made a difference to your projects, and tell stories of how this has impacted on your beneficiaries. This will also help you to appeal to their emotional side. Remember your database is a collection of individuals rather than a set of statistics.

The above advice all points in one direction: don’t underestimate the importance of an effective donor retention strategy and the role that language has to play within this. Recruiting new donors is a much more costly task. Be proactive about treating your donors well and you should see the fruits of your labour in your long-term fundraising activities.