Dit is wat donateurs te zeggen hebben...

Tijdens de National Fundraising Convention begin deze maand kwamen niet alleen fondsenwervers aan het woord. Ook donateurs hadden een centrale plek in het programma.

In een speciale sessie kregen donateurs van verschillende goede doelen de mogelijkheid om directe feedback te geven aan de fondsenwervers in de zaal. De bijeenkomst werd geleid door Ken Burnett die zijn persoonlijke aantekeningen op zijn website heeft gedeeld.

Beste fondsenwervers, dit is wat donateurs te zeggen hebben...

• No pressure, ever. ‘I wouldn’t like my granny to be pressurised’, said one. Grandads too I’m sure. No surprise there.

• ‘I want to make a real difference’. ‘Tell me about the difference I’m making’. The number of times this came up was a real thrill. It really is what matters most to donors. ‘Did my gift get through?’ Seemed fundraisers aren’t always great at answering this, for some on the panel.

• Feedback. This is how they see that difference. They all want communications that tell them what their support achieves. 

• Integrity. Do the right thing. Always. Show your passion, but be led by your values

• Respect. And sensitivity. No explanation needed.

• Listen. That’s invariably part of respect of course. But it’s worth stressing.

• Send less, but better. Only intelligent communications. ‘We want to be informed and involved, but not too much’. Design it right and make it good. One of the donors even stressed the need to get grammar and punctuation right – I could have leapt in the air! An impact report from the Children’s Society came in for particular appreciation. Again, the message seems to be, ‘show me the difference we’re making, don’t talk about how great the charity is or how it’s structured.’ They want to know how their donations change lives – who’d have thought, hmm?

• Know me and show me you know me.

• Premiums came in for a bashing, even though many on the panel were unaware that’s what they’re called. ‘Don’t send me stuff’ seemed to be the message. Daphne said passionately that she’s got so many sticky address labels she could spend all her time sticking them on envelopes and would still never be finished. Premiums, raffles and prizes diminish donating.

• Emotion came up a lot, mostly positively because all the panel confirmed their initial support for ‘their’ causes had come through personal emotional connection. But I felt at times emotion was talked of quite fearfully. I’m not sure any of the panel specifically called for very responsible use of emotion, but that was the gist.

• Transparency and accountability. When donors discuss such things they tend to talk about being open, clear, honest and accessible.

• Admin and salaries. We didn’t go into it in detail but concerns were raised that these donors too don’t want their gifts lost on high admin and salary costs. The panel though were not unrealistic in their expectations and appreciated that prudent investment in effective administration is essential if gifts are to reach beneficiaries efficiently. And investment in fundraising makes sense if it grows the cake. A case of needing to tell the truth, and tell it well.

Geen verrassende antwoorden wellicht. En de accenten hier in Nederland of bij jouw specifieke organisatie zullen net even wat anders liggen. Maar het geeft een mooi beeld van waar donateurs op letten. 

De tijd die fondsenwervers nemen om op deze manier met donateurs te praten is vaak nihil. Laat jezelf informeren over wat er leeft. Alleen dan begrijp je wat donateurs beweegt. En alleen dan zie je in de praktijk dat succes in fondsenwerving een direct gevolg is van wat donateurs ervaren.


Deze blog post is eerder verschenen bij De Toekomst van Fondsenwerving.