How to Better Manage Your Donor Contacts

Here in Hagerstown, Maryland, like in many small towns, we are close to our friends, neighbors and co-workers. We’re familiar with each other, so communicating is easy and straightforward.

Can you say the same about your donor contact management? Unlike our small community, your donor base is huge and diverse. And even though you want to know your donors personally, the sheer numbers make it really hard. It’s important though, to get to know your donors as well as possible and manage your contact with them carefully at every opportunity.

What’s the best way to do this? And how does this fit into your overall operations when there are so many competing claims on your time, resources and personnel? A well-established donor management process will keep donors coming back and enable greater retention. In fact, a recent study revealed that improving retention rates by only 10 percent would improve the lifetime value of a donor by up to 200 percent.

To help grow and strengthen your customer service, ask yourself the following questions:

Who are your customers? Know your donors and treat them well. You want to learn know as much as possible about your donors such as:

  • Who they are
  • Where they’re located
  • What issues are important to them
  • How they like to be contacted
  • How frequently they prefer to be contacted

Make the most of opportunities to capture reliable and accurate data and build a clear picture of your donor base.

What do your donors need? You can’t leave them waiting and wondering, either, about what happens once they make a gift. It’s important to respond quickly and accurately, building a relationship of mutual trust and respect. Our Contact Center has identified the top five reasons why most donors contact an organization:

  1. To change their mail preferences: “I’d like to adjust the frequency of mailings being sent.”
  2. To obtain general program information: “I’d like to know how is my gift being used.”
  3. To donate “I’d like to make another gift.”
  4. To update account information “I’d like to give you my new mailing address.”
  5. To question a premium, order or label “I’d like more address labels.”

Remember to be responsive to these types of requests and concerns. Donors expect their concerns to be met and their questions answered in a timely manner.

How can you be accessible?Customers are able to communicate through a vast number of channels. With this ability, they are being proactive in reaching out to share their needs. Last year alone, Merkle RMG received over 200,000 calls and 430,000 emails on behalf of our clients’ donors. Be sure to give them easy access, personal interaction, solutions to their problems, fast responses to their requests and needs, and a heartfelt thank you for their participation.

Make excellent, consistent donor contact your number one priority and embed it into the culture of your organization. Do you have policies in place that guarantee your employees, volunteers, teachers, trainers, deliverers and program managers all treat your clients with respect? Make sure your whole team buys into the importance of customer service and follows established protocols for donor contact.

Every part of donor contact plays into the success of your fundraising efforts. So every time you have a chance to connect with your contributors, make the most of it. Feel free to share what works for you in making your donor contact management the best it can be.