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How and Why It’s So Important

You’ve probably seen it before – an elderly couple in a community newspaper, hand in hand, celebrating decades of marriage. You read the article, because Albert and Mary are sharing their secrets to a long and happy relationship.

This is where your donor database can be extremely helpful

You already know that donors will support your non-for-profit for different reasons: they loved your cause, they engaged well with a face-to-face recruiter, it was a convenient time to sign up, they were a past volunteer, or they’ve been directly affected by the work you do.

BUT … never expect these to be strong enough reasons to stay.

So, now you’ve started the relationship, you need to work on it. Continuously. Use your database to segment your donors. And use your fundraising strategy to plan your communications for each segment.

After all, each segment will be communicated to differently depending on why they joined and where they fall in their giving life cycle (which can vary from days to months to years).

Someone who signed up on the street last week, for example, is different to someone who has been volunteering at your organisation for 15 years. Both will need tailored fundraising strategies and a communications plan that is relevant to their needs. Your database can record this information and help you map out future marketing activities, within a realistic budget.

That means targeted donor communications, better service and ultimately stronger relationships.


A good donor database is a valuable testing tool

Communication can be complicated.

How often should you send information? What type of information are your supporters interested in? Will too much overwhelm and annoy? Will too little make them lose interest?

One of the best ways to strengthen your supporter relationships is to test what works, and use that feedback to finesse your communications plan.

Your marketing database can be used to store and analyse each test stream. It has the functionality to test and compare results to different materials, content, channels and segments.


A good donor database is responsive

We can’t emphasise this enough: record everything.

If you speak to your supporters by phone, online or through a survey, capture their responses in your donor database and communicate with them accordingly.

For example, if someone calls requesting information, enter their details into your database and then flag them to receive your information pack. Once a week, through a simple database query, you can fulfill all requests – you also have the start of a prospect list for your next appeal. How neat is that?!

Your database should be used to honor what your supporters want: if someone requests email communication only, or wants to receive your newsletters but not your appeal, you must make sure it’s flagged and implemented.


A good donor database is your best friend

Your database should be built to handle each and every tailored request.

Done right, it will allow you to provide exceptional service with attention to detail. It will keep your supporters interested, passionate and loyal, because they will feel like you care about their wants and needs.

Listen to them, show respect, communicate appropriately, and you’ll enjoy a loving, long-term relationship just like Albert and Mary.

Do you want to increase productivity and minimise attrition rates? Start by cleaning up your database. If you’re not sure how, we can help.