When you think of the most engaged donor at your organization, what sets them apart?
Do they volunteer? Do they attend events? Do they donate a lot of money?
Those are fantastic indicators of engagement, but I’m here to tell you about four habits that some of your donors demonstrate that don’t immediately flag their deep level of engagement, but should.
#1 – The habit of RSVP’ing to events
Attending events is one thing, but RSVP’ing – even to say no – is an awesome indicator of engagement. If this donor cares enough about you to let you know they’re not coming – and they feel that YOU care to know? They love you. They really really love you.
#2 – The habit of providing multiple pieces of contact info
If this donor gives you their work phone, cell phone, home mailing address, business address, and more than one email? They want you to get in touch with them. If you can’t reach them at work, try their cell! They like when you reach out!
#3 – The (RARE!) habit of updating their contact info with you
Have you ever had a donor proactively update their mailing address with you because they moved? If you’re like me you’re probably chuckling to yourself because this so rarely happens. More often than not, we know a donor moved because our letter to them is returned to us. But I bet at least once in your fundraising career you’ve had this happen. And let me guess: that donor is one of your most engaged. I’m not surprised. A donor who does this is a donor who cares.
And finally… the least fun part of our jobs…
#4 – The habit of complaining
It happens to all of us. It’s no fun, but it’s a part of our jobs: when a donor calls in to complain. It’s hard to look at it this way sometimes, but the donor who calls in to complain is the most committed, caring, and loyal donor we have. Think of all the people out there who used to give to your organization but something frustrating happened to them and they stopped giving… and now they’re just a lapsed donor. We don’t know why they stopped, just that they did. However, when that “something frustrating” happens to a donor and they care enough to call in and tell you? We can work with that. Complaining means you hope for – and believe that there can be – a solution. That donor wants us to fix the situation. And when – not if – we do, they will continue to be the most loyal donor we have… if not more loyal than ever before.
What are your other unconventional flags for donor engagement? Share in the comments below! Or tweet me @fundraisermaeve.
Thanks for reading!
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over nine years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.