why do you treat me like this
I donБt usually rant in my blog posts, but I hope someone can help me understand something. б For the past six months, the chatter in articles, blog posts and tweets has been about the importance of retention. бOur industry has a terrible problem and, according to many experts, it is the No. 1 issue facing nonprofits today. Each year, I do an unscientific test to see how the largest charities are doing with their acknowledgements. бOn November 30, 2012, I gave $15. 75 to 20 large national nonprofit organizations and one gift for $20 so I could receive a special БfreeБ gift they were offering. бWhenever I was given an opportunity on the response device, I signed up for email, requested information on their monthly donor program, requested the free gift or asked to learn more about planned giving opportunities. 63% sent a thank you letter, as of January 14. ThatБs down 14% from last year. The fastest turnaround was 14 days (congratulations to the Billy Graham Association). I requested email updates from 13 organizations. бTo date, none has emailed me.
I requested planned giving information from three organizations. бTo date, none has sent me anything. IБve not received my free item for the $20 minimum donation, which I made. And one organization sent me information on its sustainer program a week before I received a thank you. A few weeks ago, I was telling a friend about this terrible experience and I couldnБt believe what he said. бHis direct quote:бБThe frustration over receipts almost makes giving money away a bad thing. rather than a good thing. Б Are you serious? бThatБs from a donor who gives away more than $100,000 a year, and his minimum gift is around $5,000. I asked him to tell me what happened. бHe said that, last year, he gave an organization $25,000 and was impressed that he received a timely receipt. бA year later, he gave another $25,000 and, about a week after making that gift, he saw the CEO at a meeting. бShe graciously thanked him for his gift and said she wanted to present him with a special pin to recognize him as a member of their top giving society. бThe donor asked if it was for the recent gift he had made and she said, БWell, no, it is for the gift you made last year.
БбShe went on to say how they wanted to meet with him in person to formally present the pin. бThe donor agreed but, amazingly, there was never a follow-up. бNeedless to say, that donor gave his $25,000 gift to someone else this year. I m not asking in a self-serving way. бI m genuinely curious. What, exactly, are you insisting will happen before you start taking this seriously? I donБt know who said this quote, but itБs perfect:бБThey may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. бI understand that many organizations probably donБt waste their time and money on acknowledging small gifts, but I think that is a huge mistake. бDonors want to feel appreciated and, if you give them a great giving experience, they will support you year after year. бAnd step one just requires some small improvements to your acknowledgment process. бOn second thought, you might be better off blowing up your existing procedures and starting over.
For those of you who get it, please email me and let me know what you are doing.
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