Here’s an Easy Way to Start a Conversation With Donors

DENNIS HOFFMAN, CEO ENGAGE USA

DENNIS HOFFMAN, CEO
ENGAGE USA

Marcy Stengel over at Bloomerang has some great advice for fundraisers:

“Talk less, ask more”  

Focusing on the donor is almost always emphasized in fundraising books and guides – but ways to focus on the donor often go unexplained. 

Marcy suggestions asking questions. 

Asking questions engages donors and helps form a bond between them and an organization’s director or signer. It’s an opportunity to learn about the people who are the heart and backbone of nonprofit causes.

Surveys fit the bill perfectly for direct mail. 

Another option is to ask questions throughout the text of a letter.

“Will you please send a donation?”

“Isn’t it about time someone did something?”

“Do you agree with this piece of legislation?”

As Marcy writes, “there’s a chance that they might say something you don’t want to hear” in response. They might choose not to donate, write back, or support the cause – but it puts the donor in the driver’s seat and demonstrates the respect we have for them.

Without questions within fundraising copy, the writer can come across as talking at the reader, rather than with him.

If I post a statement on Facebook like, “Coffee is better than tea,” I might get a few replies from friends who are hardcore coffee enthusiasts or devoted tea defenders. But by making a declaration like this, conversation is practically dead on arrival. I made the post about myself. I might as well have typed “I prefer coffee and I don’t care what you think.”

If I post “Coffee or tea?”, it invites people to interact. The entire post is about the reader, their opinion, and their input.

Questions dotted throughout fundraising copy create a dialogue. Rather than responding with a Facebook reply or spoken words, people can answer by signing a petition, completing a survey, or sending a donation.