Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lessons the mouse might want to pay attention to...

I spent the last week in Florida visiting my inlaws who retired down there in June of last year. As the parent of 3 small children, I was informed it was required that I visit the Magic Kingdom while I was in the general vicinity. So off to Disney we went.

Getting an audience with the mouse is not cheap - my inlaws live an hour away in the Villages (if you are nearing retirement age, I strongly suggest you check that out - like a cross between the big easy and the first week in college but with golf included) so we planned out the trip, used our Disney Rewards dollars to buy $362 worth of tickets, paid the $14 to park and got in line to ride the tram and then the monorail into the Kingdom. We realized it would be crowded, it was the day after President's Day so at least anyone in NY was off school and we all know how much new yorkers love the mouse (at least the folks we know do!)

We walked into the park at 9:00 when it opened and had a good 90 minutes before it got crowded. The mouse makes it easy to spend money - every vendor in the park will take anything from plastic to cash to your next born, ok just kidding about that I think....

Everything was smooth until lunch when the wheels came off - and yes this is where this post gets relevant - we were having a great time despite the crowds sore feet and waiting in line (fast pass is a great idea but what's with the 1 at a time limit?) when we sat down to eat. In short it took 20 minutes for us to be seated for a 1:05 reservation, then another hour for them to make 4 sandwiches, and they got my order wrong, then proceed to "suggest" a tip by including it on the $70 bill (keep in mind that 2 of the 4 are kids meals.)

Very simply, my attitude went from this is great, to what the hell. They would have been better served to tell me to get a hot dog on the corner, at least then my expectations would have been met. My relevance here is the following - do your constituents feel good all the way through their interactions with you? Are you doing everything you can to make your donors feel special only to let them down at the ticket window or at the registrars office? Take a look at the organizational points of contact and identify where your week links are - what can you do to address them? You don't know now who might be a million dollar donor to your next campaign or one in 40 years, don't lose the gift today by not treating them well. The mouse needs to fix this part of his house or the almost $400 in tickets will be spent elsewhere next time, don't provide your donors with the excuse to support someone else.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Data is your friend - no really!

I have spent the last two days at work creating and testing a model to use for our phone program in order to target future donors (folks who have not previously given for the glass half full set.) As I am doing so, it occurs to me that we all work very hard to get the right solicitor and approvals for our solicitations focussed on ensuring that the message matches what we are supposed to be putting out from a wording and branding standpoint but that more often than not, we are guessing at whom we are soliciting matching that message.

I would suggest some five simple targeting steps that we could (and should) all be doing:
Match date to their last (or most frequent) date. This can be driven by specific date (think anniversary card/e-card/email) or month - renewal letters.
Match vehicle to their last way of giving - you have donors who give consistently through a single vehicle - let that guide how you solicit them. You also have donors who are wildly inconsistent in how they give - consider how you can maximize the return from them and approach them that way.
Thank your consistent donors. In your appeals. In your other communications. Just because. Send them a birthday card or an anniversary card. They view you as important to them, ensure that they know you view them as important to you. Gifts will come in from these efforts even without a response device being included.
Review your email metrics. Center your online fundraising communications around those who are interacting with you - remember this is a portion of a conversation and those who are already reading your communications are speaking with you.
Take a look at the tools available in facebook ads. At the very least use the targeting tool to identify how many of your constituents have identified themselves as being associated with you. At the very best start to solicit those who are not likers of your page - for St. John's that is an audience of 43,000 out of the 49,160 alumni on facebook - you can solicit them to like your page or make a gift but use this to engage them.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

the lessons of 2010-11

Calendar year end solicitations are done. Fiscal year end projects have begun. What have we learned over the course of the 2010-11 year? I know that my top 10 list is as follows:
Online giving continues to grow in both count and dollars
Social networking is where the fish are but we are all afraid to throw in the baited hook
Phone programs continue to see a decline in contact rates and increases in dollars (albeit small)
Text giving is joining the party for cause based fundraising - Haiti signaled it's arrival in general and that trend has continued
Mobile options are mandatory - up to 40% of your eyeballs are on mobile devices
Direct mail is not dead yet
Face to face fundraising is a big part of the past... and the future.
Email is no longer for the very young but works for the very old
Video is the new norm in online communications
Everything old is new again - try a hand addressed envelope, an email actually from your account and making hand dialed phone calls when all else seems to fail.

Any one see anything missing or have something that they would like to add?