The other morning I was watching Bill Gates on various news programmes talking about his annual State of the World letter. In one interview, he made reference to how good he feels about helping those in need. A simple point but one that we shouldn’t forget as fundraisers.
A similar point was made at the Institute of Fundraising London Conference last year by fundraising trainer Rob Woods . In his working life he was often asked about how the most successful fundraisers did it? How did they get round that deep rooted embarrassment (especially among us reserved Brits!) about asking someone else, particularly wealthy donors, for money? He cited the example of one top fundraiser who answered that he implicitly believed that it would improve that person’s wellbeing if they donated money, therefore it wasn’t an issue and as a result they were more convincing in their ‘asks’. The donor would feel better, so he was doing them a favour.
I’m sure we can all come up with a few examples where we’ve done something good and got that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. There are many UK TV programmes honing in on that – The Secret Millionaire, DIY SOS, to name just a couple.
Embracing the feel good factor, late last year the Samaritans launched their Feel Good Friday workplace fundraising day which takes place next Friday 3 February, where employees can take part in feel good activities while raising money.
So how can we, as charities, make the most of that warm glow?
- Remind people of how they are helping. Whether via social media channels, emails, direct mail, show them how their money has been used and how it has made a difference.
- Don’t forget to remind people of the need. It is important to get that balance right between trying to make people feel good and therefore only focusing on the positive, and focusing too exclusively on the need, which makes people feel bad. The former can lead to the donor not feeling needed; the latter to feeling they can’t make a difference. There’s an interesting blog on this out there by Jeff Brooks.
- Create a good welcome. When people have taken that all-important first step of choosing to support your organisation, make their first experience a positive one. Reassure them they’ve made a good decision and show why they should continue to reinvest. Have a look at the Fundraising Detective blog for their top 5 tips on what makes a good donor welcome pack.
- And remember to say thank you! Sounds so simple but still astonishes me how many times I hear stories of friends who have signed up for direct debits to charities and not even received a simple acknowledgement, leaving them wondering if the payment has even gone through and less keen to renew the following year.
So go on, help spread the glow!