Recognise this? It’s a shortened version of a piece of advice that was circulated on Twitter last week – the original source being, I think, Greenpeace Australia and a fundraising forum down under.
Now I’ve been won over by Twitter. It’s great for keeping up with news, making new acquaintances and the odd stimulating exchange. But Twitter has its limits and 140 characters isn’t quite sufficient to convince me that it’s time to stop welcoming new face to face donors by phone.
I don’t know anything about Greenpeace’s Australia’s campaign and won't comment further. But I'd be interested in the sample size, the level of impact of the call and what the call script said. Did callers give a good reason for why they were calling? Were supporters told in advance to expect a call? Perhaps that information will follow. For now, though, I’d just say that I would need to know a great deal more before I was even tempted to draw a conclusion.
And I’d add this. Avoiding contact with new face to face donors completely flies in the face of what we are doing here at Bluefrog to counter attrition. And indeed, welcome donors from all sources of recruitment.
I've mentioned before (in this post) that there’s a school of fundraising of which I’ve never been a fan. I don’t know what it’s called, but how about ‘apathy fundraising’? It seems to me to be a fair way of describing recruiting supporters, without much caring whether they’ve any allegiance to the cause, as long as they keep giving.
Bluefrog’s approach is different on the basis that years of research has shown us that lack of engagement = fragile relationships, to borrow a phrase from @markyphillips.
So rather than leave new donors alone, we work very hard to build their engagement with the cause, in the knowledge that the few first months of their support sets the course to their relationship with that organization.
But I should say, there are exceptions. If people tell us that they will continue to give but don’t want any contact, of course, that’s exactly what we do.
And that’s really the point.
For us, the recruitment and welcome process is about getting to know the new donor and gathering information that will help us ensure they get what they want – and ideally more – out of their support for a particular cause.
With face to face donors, that means a recruitment process that tells them what to expect next – a welcome call, text and emails that lead them to their own personalized website that allows them to control the relationship from there on. You can read more about that here should you have missed the last couple of posts.
For other donors, here are some extracts from one of my favourite welcome pieces.
It's the welcome pack for ActionAid Child Sponsorship. And it's the result of a great brief from the ActionAid team, who set the bar high straightaway by saying they wanted materials that would represent the wonderful relationship that child sponsorship offers – from both sides.
This is the folder front cover, which is held together by a piece of string that binds the supporter to the child and vice versa. Straightaway it sets out the relationship as equal and two-way, rather than paternalistic. This device also appears on the enquiry pack.
I don't know if you can see it, but this spread asks an important question - It's your sponsorship. How do you want it to work? And an accompanying questionnaire allows the new sponsor to tell us more about their interests.
Here you might just be able to see how real engagement is encouraged. Writing to the child you sponsor, it's stressed, gives great pleasure to the child. (And having written this pack, I DID finally get round to writing to the child I sponsor with ActionAid and guess what? His next letter told me how much he'd liked getting the card I sent).
Going back to last week's post, this spread shows exactly how child sponsorship money is spent.
Here we make sure we represent the campaigning and global action side of ActionAid's work, making sure we show clearly that child sponsorship gives you a link with one child, but the chance to help change the lives of many.
And here, always worth putting in, a sponsor get sponsor card.
Finally, I can’t mention these packs without crediting Alfayo Odongo from Uganda, Sita Nepali from Nepal, Ndiwuzayani Lasha from Malawi and Mika Richman from Malawi, the children who did the drawings. Truly, a team effort.