The Quickest Way To Lose A Donor

By | April 21, 2014

quickest way to lose a donor

“Dear Bernard…”

I’ve been reading The Nation all my adult life.  I’ve subscribed to it for thirty years.  And I used to give a donation every month–but not any more.

“Bernard, don’t let them win!”

Sorry.  There are other progressive organizations.  Hell, there are other progressive magazines.  If I want to do my part to keep the right-wingers from stamping corporate logos on people’s minds, I can give my money elsewhere.

“Bernard, we want you back.”

Too bad.  Because my name is not Bernard.

Now, you might think I’m being petty here.  I do read The Nation ever week, right?  And I pass along each week’s issue to a friend who reads them too.  What’s more, the magazine has moved into the 21st century with a good website and a diverse set of contributing editors that keep it lively and on point.

Why should something as minor as the wrong name lose me as a donor?

  • First, because no one’s name is minor to them.
  • Second, because if they’re making this mistake with me, how many others are they offending with similar mistakes?  Why should my donation fill a hole they’re digging themselves, because they can’t get a person’s name right?
  • Third, because when I point it out to them, they don’t respond.  I reply to the emails.  I tweet the editor personally.  And yes, I’m going to call them and find a human being to speak to live.  But that’s not the donor’s job. And most donors won’t do it.  And you will lose them, maybe for a lifetime.

So, ask yourself: is our nonprofit telling donors they are irrelevant?

Do we make donors feel welcomed and cherished?

Or do we make them feel nameless?

Category: Articles Direct Mail Stewardship Tags: , ,

About Dennis Fischman

Passionate about social change, Dennis Fischman helps nonprofit organizations tell their stories and win the support they need. As a consultant, he leads you to develop your communications strategy, attracts supporters for you through content marketing, and helps you manage your blog and social media. Dennis has guest posted on the John Haydon blog, Social Media Game Plan, and the B-Cause blog for nonprofit executives in Australia. He is an Associate at Cause and Effective. Read more of his advice on his Communicate! blog and follow him on Twitter @DennisFischman.

10 thoughts on “The Quickest Way To Lose A Donor

  1. Dennis Fischman

    Happy to say that Fundraising/Donor Relations Coordinator Loren Lynch wrote me back today pledging to fix my name in the database. She also promises to get the Social Media person to pay attention when people are blogging about The Nation. This story may yet have a happy ending. Still…don’t let it happen to your nonprofit!

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  3. WATurner

    I feel your pain Dennis, and admire your persistence in trying to fix the problem. The DNC has been calling me Gerald for some unknown reason, and it’s damned irritating. As direct marketers we know they should know better.

  4. Dennis Fischman

    Thanks, Ger…I mean, WATurner. I wish I could say the problem was solved, but I received another “Bernard” email just today!

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