For years, I've been receiving wordy emails and long page filled letters from nonprofits. Every time I receive one, I wonder aloud, who reads this stuff? Well, turns out it's not your donors. Thanks to a great new study from Abila on donor loyalty, we now know that donors want us to stop overwhelming them with text. Same thing goes for those lengthy videos we've been sending them. There's a famous quote that says If I had more time it would have been shorter- Then why are we so verbose?
Is it because our missions are so important? Is it because we can't stop talking about ourselves and how fabulous our work is? Or is it because we've always written that way?!
Check out this great chart:
I'm often quoted as saying you have one screen to get to me, yup and that screen is the size of my phone. If it goes beyond that you lose your donors, we now have proof of that. The same is true in video. Check out this infographic:
These stats are from donors of all generations and giving behaviors, this crosses our entire donor spectrum. So why then as a digital donor am I constantly receiving 4 page letters in the mail? Are we blind to what our donors wants and needs are? Or is change too difficult in our organizations?
Your personality with your donors needs to change. You need to avoid the danger zones of communications. Here's what donors said drives them away from your organization.
Can you say, "the area of greatest need"? I don't know anything more vague and boring than some annual fund appeals. I often advise my clients to stay away from terms like these and discretionary funding. They're so vague and dull. What about changing lives or inspiring others? All of that is whitewashed in our jargon filled text that is uninspiring and we have to get to the 17th paragraph in the case for support to figure out why we should give or continue to support?
It's time for a donor revolution with our communications. We have to inspire people, incite them toward emotion and be originals. with 1.4 million nonprofits in the US alone, if we don't stand out, we're sure to become irrelevant. What are your thoughts? More from the Abila study next week, for now I'm gonna go crank Prince in my headphones and let a true original inspire me.