There’s been talk recently about the value of donor profiles in our non-profit communications. Often we see them employed as a tactic to cultivate our constituents to make legacy (or planned) gifts. The question under discussion: “Do donor profiles work to encourage or inspire others to make similar gifts?” The answer varies. Consider these points and determine if your donor stories could be better:
- People easily relate to people like themselves – in age, looks, life stage and financial situation.
- If this is true, who are you profiling in your communications?
- Do you have a clear picture of your organization’s annual, major and planned giving donor set or sets? Maybe you have more than one.
- The primary reason people make gifts is to impact their community and make it a better place or keep its resources intact.
- Do your donor profiles focus on the impact of the gift in your community or on the financial benefits of the gift instead?
- Do you include visual components that tell the story?
- Does a picture of your donor sitting in a chair with a non-descript background impart mission fulfillment or would an image of the donor involved in a component of your mission tell a more effective story?
- Attention span is shorter than you think: 20-seconds for online copy and an average of 1.2 seconds when scanning a newspaper headline.
- Does your headline or topic sentence draw people in or does it send them away?
- Do you proactively direct your reader to contact you if they were inspired by the donor story or do you just assume that they will do so?
One group of Boston-area development professionals recently conducted their own donor story self-audit after attending a seminar on the same topic. What a wonderful idea and an excellent way to engage like-minded colleagues in this discussion!