Donor-centric Health Check
How donor-centric is your organisation? Consider the following questions and if your answers are mostly positive, then you (and your donors) are fortunate to be involved with a donor-centric organisation.
If your answers are mostly negative, then your organisation is probably not keeping up-to-date with best practice in fundraising and is almost certainly not enjoying the level of support you might expect from having loyal and satisfied donors.
- Has your organisation conducted donor satisfaction research within the past 12 months?
- Does your organisation regularly undertake donor-based research for your fundraising campaigns (e.g. feasibility studies, focus group interviews, etc)?
- If you have an established community of donors, has your organisation conducted wealth screening on them?
- Have you profiled your donors?
- Have you conducted Lifetime Value Analysis on your donors?
- Do you conduct research on your lapsed donors to find out why they stopped giving?
- Are donors asked to give input prior to introducing a new service or program which requires their support?
- Do you seek feedback from donors about the special events they attend?
- Do you monitor the media for stories on your most important major donors?
- Do you know why each donor originally decided to give to your organisation?
- Is your fundraising/advancement material generally written so that it addresses the reader directly as in "You have helped to...", or is it generally written in a 'corporate voice' as in "We have helped to..." ? (FYI – "You" is a powerful way to gain attention – use it!).
- Does your organisation regard relationship building with donors as one of your highest priorities?
- Do you provide reports to donors on what impact their contribution has made (e.g. the outcomes for beneficiaries)?
- Have you organised learning opportunities for your donors (e.g. seminars/lectures on topics relevant to your organisation's work)?
- Do you cultivate your donors by engaging with them to share their insights and observations?
- Does it take two or less clicks from your home page to reach your donations page?
- When making a donation online, other than the details essential to making a payment via credit card (e.g. Amount of donation; Name on card; Card number; Expiry date, etc), do you save donors from having to complete other mandatory fields?
- Have you designed programs to allow your donors to meet/interact with beneficiaries?
- Are stories about donors as well as beneficiaries included in most of your marketing and communication material? And if 'yes', are stories from donors highlighted on your website?
- Do you send your donors regular updates on your organisation's activities?
- Do you share the mistakes as well as the successes your organisation has made with your donors?
- Have you asked your donors for their communication preferences? And if 'yes', do you communicate with donors according to their individual preferences?
- Have you segmented your donors and do you provide tailored communication for specific segments?
- When known, do you send congratulation letters to donors who have achieved something significant in their work or personal lives (e.g. received an award, recently got married)?
- Do you respect donor loyalty, e.g. recognise important donor anniversaries (e.g. for being a donor for five or ten years)?
- Is your organisation transparent with the way in which it spends donor's contributions?
- Does your organisation regularly track donor understanding of your brand?
- Are your communication strategies developed in response to donor research, feedback and market insights?
- Do you provide your donors with a wide range of options to support your organisation (e.g. pledges over years, volunteering, mentoring, gifts in kind, artwork, property, shares, securities, participation on advisory boards, etc)?
- Does your organisation have a donor acknowledgement policy, e.g. do you phone up major donors to thank them when their cheque arrives? Does the head of your organisation send a personal thank you letter for significant gifts?
- Does your fundraising team have Key Performance Indicators which includes donor satisfaction as a measure?
- Are your fundraising/advancement staff remunerated or paid a bonus that depends on achieving donor satisfaction metrics?
- Do you have a complaints policy for donors? And if 'yes', is it published?
- Do you have a gift acceptance policy? And if 'yes', is it published?
Donor management systems and processes
- Do you have annual development plans for your major donors? And if 'yes', do your donors input to and have access to them?
- Do you have a relationship management system in place for major donors? And if 'yes', do the senior executive of the organisation have a formal role in managing relationships?
- Do you have staff with responsibility for stewarding major donors?
- Do you have a database with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) capabilities?
Organisational culture and commitment
- Does your organisation's leadership regularly make suggestions about potential donors to follow up? And if 'yes', do they help by making introductions?
- Does the head of your organisation get involved with asking for significant donations?
- Has the head of your organisation and board/council members made a personal donation to the organisation? And if 'yes', have they indicated they will leave a bequest?
- Have you asked your board/council members to review your current major donors and potential donor lists to identify any relationships they may have with them?
- Does the job description of the head of the organisation, senior executive and board/council members include donor solicitation, cultivation and stewardship as responsibilities?
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