Last week, I wrote a blog about two messages I received in a series from an organization after going to a few of their concerts. You can read the original and most important blog about the first email here, but I’ll give some quick highlights to catch you up.

My wife and I recently attended a concert at a nonprofit venue (which was an amazing concert), marking the 2nd time within a month we attended a show there – the 4th time overall.

At that point, the organization should have had a decent record of our engagement with them. However, in the week following the show, we received 4 separate invitations from 3 separate people/departments to engage with the organization further.

Here’s the email they sent me after attending that 2nd concert within the recent month:

example of nonprofit email that missed its target

Recap of the issues I had: the subject seemed spammy, there was no introduction or context for who was emailing me, they treated me like I didn’t go to the concert (even though I did), and what the email was offering was super unclear.

After that, the person who sent me the email called me. I hadn’t really read the email, but they jumped right in as if we had been corresponding for weeks. All the while I’m thinking, “Do you guys even know who I am? Or am I just a dollar sign to you?”

Alright – caught up? Here’s what happened next.

Do you even know me at all?

I got the email. Received the phone call. I then received a letter in the mail from the org, introducing me to a special offer.

The offer?

To buy a grand piano. Yup, a grand piano.

sample letter of organization inappropriately soliciting

While I work at a software company, we’re definitely no Apple or Google. So no – I’m not banking thousands extra a month to just splurge on a grand piano. I’m also a young professional balancing a family, job, and mortgage.

A little bit of research on me, or any type of quick conversation with me would have indicated that I’m not in a position to afford a grand piano. I can’t hammer this home enough: use your database to segment communication appropriately!

In addition to all the problems with lining up my persona type to the purchase of a grand piano, I got this letter from a new person at the org. So who’s trying to build a relationship with me? Too many hands in the kitchen causes some nasty stew…or something like that.

The point is: giving is all based on relationships. You need to know your donors. If you want me to give, it needs to seem like you’re interested in me, appealing to me as a friend.

Finally, let’s consider the fact this is a follow-up to me purchasing tickets online a total of four times with this org.

How do you jump from buying a few tickets online to buying a grand piano? Unless the last show I went to awarded me a free, pre-scratched winning lotto ticket, then I’m not quite at a tens-of-thousands level of reverence of your org.

The most unfortunate part? I think a ton of us are doing this with our own constituents. Maybe not to this degree, but how many times have you sent a blanket message out to all your donors, asking for x or y donation? Or how many emails have you sent out from Jim, then from Darcy, and Riley? All slightly different appeals, but from different people, adding to some potential confusion among your donors.

We need to be thinking about how our donors are interpreting these actions. Don’t waste time on such scattered and inconsiderate communication! Use your database to find the right audience for the right communication. Then follow-up with consistent, appropriate touches.

It doesn’t have to be hard, but don’t let the mundane day-to-day cause you to get lazy.

I’ll post my last blog about the flyer they sent me in the next few days. It’s bound to be a barn burner.

 

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