3 Data Gems to Better Personalize Your Donor Asks

March 12, 2018

Donor-centred communication is a key trait of excellent fundraising. The challenge for those of us who work in annual giving is to make a singular piece of communication feel like it is tailored to one person – even though you’re sending the exact same thing to 1,000 or 20,000 individuals.

Here are three data gems, or pieces of information, that most of us already have in our donor databases that you can use to better connect with your supporters.

Who did you give to?

Event donors are notoriously difficult to convert into annual donors. This is because we’re trying to shift the primary relationship from being with their friend who participated in a walk, run or other special event, to being our new BFF.

In your copy, make sure you thank them and acknowledge that they gave to their friend Betty. Keep it casual—only use Betty’s first name. And even better, squeeze in when they made the gift by including the month in your copy. If it’s a team based-event, and you know what team Betty was on, include that information in your letter or email as well!

Don’t presume that the donor knows who you are or even that they gave to you. They know their friend Betty, and have warm fuzzies about their friend Betty, and might care about the same things that Betty does. Including this personalization can help them give TO YOU when you ask this time.

Where are you from?

This is a particularly nifty tip to localize your communications for regional, provincial and national charities.

In a recent test with a client, we used variable copy in a paragraph that specifically talked about how a gift would benefit people in their own city/town. Now this is true—this particular client does have local impact (and so it should be true for you too). By adding this small piece of information, we saw a positive lift in response rate.

Think about how local you can make your ask, or how local you can make your communications. The “in your own backyard” feel can bring a donor closer to your cause and make their impact feel more immediate.

How long have we been friends?

I’ve been friends with the Flintstone Dinosaur Rescue for 12 years now. I just love saving extinct reptiles! I can’t believe how long we’ve been in each other’s lives now.

When you write copy that reminds a donor of the length of your relationship, you’re pulling out the loyalty card. You’re taking them back on a mental journey of how you came into their lives, why they support you, and all of the good feelings they have when they give to you. Every once and a while, amaze a donor by letting them know how long they’ve been investing in your mission and creating positive change.

Note that none of the above examples are transactional and related to the amounts a donor has given to your charity. All of these are relational. These are about how well you know your donor and what insights you have into who they are as a human being. These small tricks can go a long way in making your fundraising more donor-centred.

What are some other ways that you use data to personalize your communications?

3 thoughts on “3 Data Gems to Better Personalize Your Donor Asks

  1. I took the time to do exactly that when I recently sent thank you letters to those donors who sponsored someone in one of our events. In fact, I highly customized all the letters to participants, donors, participants & donors…. My colleagues tell me I’m wasting my time…… I don’t think so!

  2. So awesome, thank you Holly! Sometimes, it’s just ‘good’ to hear from someone who is guiding us to do better and strive for more. A fan…

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Holly Wagg

Holly Wagg

Fundraiser. Connector. Photographer. Adventurer. Extroverted-introvert. Digital architect. Change agent. Mother. Architect of random projects.