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Update from the 2018 AFP International Conference

What do your donors and prospects really think about your cause?

During the 2018 AFP International Conference, I was struck by the number of sessions that emphasized: "personal relationship" with your donors.  Now we have all been talking about being donorcentric for some time.  But these sessions were talking about really getting to know your donors at a different level. One example that Adrian Sargent gave was to use morality words to reinforce donors and prospects sense of themselves.  These are words like kind, hardworking, compassionate, caring, and thoughtful - you get the idea.

Another idea that floated around the conference was trying to be more targeted in your ask and appeals to what your readers already believe about your organization or what they want your organization to be.  Reinforcing already established beliefs makes your reader feel good about supporting your cause.  

Now the question becomes in our already hectic work life how do we figure out the morality of our donors and prospects,  and how do you figure out what people think of your cause?  Well, you have to ask them. There are many ways to do this, but I decided to try a survey. 

I sent an eight-question survey to a randomly selected group of our donors. We sent it via email using a popular survey tool.  It was designed to take no more than five minutes to complete.  I didn't expect to get a ton of responses, but I hoped to get a sense of who our donors are and what they thought about our organization.

And boy did I. We got a lot of great information from people including the words that they would use to describe themselves - the morality questions. Why they "believe" in the organization and what they felt the organization ought to be doing more of programmatically. Obviously, we only asked questions that were within the scope of what the organization already does or is planning to do it the future.   


We also asked for a couple of pieces of personal information. We asked their name, zip code and email - that was all.  
Now we are using what we found out to write copy and articles for the newsletter,  and decide who to invite to quarterly visit to our programs.  

We are looking forward to seeing how this new information affects our donations.  Also, it makes people feel good to be asked for their opinions.