Let it go!

What do the movie “Frozen” and donors have in common???

You’ll know by the end of this blog post.

I was in a meeting with a client and my colleague – the amazing, Rachel Hunnybun!

We were talking about a really cool way to segment donors (yes I actually called it “cool”, and I mean it!), and we talked about how this approach could maximize growth with donors ready to step up their giving, retain donors, rescue lapsed donors, and then there was one more word:

Release

You can call me out on semantics – feel free! But the point was, sometimes we have to let donors go. In fact, sometimes it makes donors feel a lot better to have an exit.

Here’s a life example to give this context: one of my pet peeves is when I have to leave a party and a friend gives me a hard time. “C’mon! Stay for longer! It’s gonna be so fun!”

No, thank you. I’ve made my decision, I was here, and now it’s time to go. Begging me to stay, or giving me a guilt trip, isn’t going to make me stay; it’s going to make me like you a little less.

The same thing can happen with donors! “Stop mailing me! I haven’t given in 7 years!” Sure, when donors actively opt out, it’s a little easier – you put a “DO NOT CALL” or “DO NOT EMAIL” or “DO NOT MAIL” tag on them in your database and they’re excluded.

But sometimes we need to pay a little more attention to donor behaviour. Or give them opportunities to say, “It’s been swell, but I gotta leave this party.”

When I have to leave a party and I say goodbye, and my friend says “Totally understand, get home safe!”, I love them a little more. I feel heard, acknowledged, respected.

And I think donors are the same! When you let them go – or give them an opportunity to opt out – you, the charity, feel more authentic, trustworthy, credible. It’s good for reputation, and it’s good for donor experience.

So whether that’s taking a look at donor behaviour and identifying donors who aren’t engaging with us, or whether it’s a stage of an onboarding journey for new email leads where they can say “Yes, I want to hear from you!”, or “No, I don’t!” Pay a little more attention, and be like Elsa from “Frozen”:

Let it go!

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Written by Maeve Strathy

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Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for eleven years.
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