Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Personalization is the Key to Your Donor's Heart

What's your favorite word? It's one of the questions they always ask on The Actor's Studio. The question causes you to really pause and think about it, doesn't it? Well, recently I heard Ron Tite speak at AFP Congress in Toronto and he declared that the one word that is music to our donors ears' is the sound of their own name. I agree completely.

 Sometimes we're so obsessed with getting our daily work done that we lose sight of who the important one in the relationship is, the donor. How do we make them feel special in a world of mass emails and direct mail? We should use their name. I can't tell you how many solicitations I receive that start, "Dear Friend". You had my name to send the email or mail piece because you had to address it, so please use my name in the piece itself. 

Sometimes adding a quick personalization is the key to going from good to great. I'll show you some examples.

This note from the Greensboro YMCA is a great example of combining pre-printed text with a hand written note of gratitude. And it arrived within 48 hours of me making my gift. Kudos to them.
It doesn't all have to come from fundraising circles, I recently splurged on a nice pair of travel and speaking shoes and this fun note was enclosed with my purchase. It didn't have to be long for me to understand that it was personal and they spelled my name right! Bravo!

Or how about this quick card I received on a recent Delta flight that was in my seat from the Captain! What a meaningful personal touch. I'm glad he knew where I was sitting and that apparently that day I had a matching manicure! LOL

Even if it's not hand written, how can you demonstrate a human connection? Check out this card I recently received from my mail in pharmacy. It shows me that there are faces behind the fulfillment and that today, my prescriptions were filled by Hay. Gave me a sense of comfort and reassurance.

Now I know this may be a stretch for some of you, but I grew up in the south where if it's not moving we monogram it. So personalization is key in my life. What are you doing to help personalize your message to your donors? At the end of the day, that personal touch takes a transaction and turns it into a relationship. It's what sets you apart from everyone else in the fundraising world and is worth the effort.

What are your thoughts on these images? How do they make you feel? What have you done recently to help personalize your fundraising? I would love to hear your thoughts.



  1. Love the Y example :) And look, you got some Tieks! Hope you love them as much as I do. One of the reasons I love ordering things from Etsy or similar "makers movement" sites, is the personal notes sellers usually include with your purchase. We can learn something from crafters!

    1. Exactly I did thanks in part to your advice! It's those personal touches that make all the difference.