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Planning your donor journey is key to nurturing strong, loyal relationships, but are you aware of potential mistakes that could undo all the hard work you’ve done?

Here are three common mistakes organisations make…



Mistake #1: not thanking donors

This is a big one. Nothing is more disheartening for donors than putting their heart and money into supporting a cause – and then not getting a thank you. And it happens more than you might think.

More than anything, a donor wants to feel valued and appreciated – and to have a sense of belonging with a particular organisation. They gave because they wanted to make a difference. They wanted to feel that glow from being a part of a life-changing solution to a problem. Not being thanked removes their joy.

It’s similar when they don’t receive any response after contacting an organisation, such as via email, phone, social media messages or comments. Getting back to them is crucial, as is thanking them for getting in touch.

Need some inspiration on ways to thank your supporter more personally? Here are just a few:

  • A thank you card hand-signed by the CEO
  • A phone call
  • A personalised report back of where their money went with ‘thank you’ clearly written
  • A handwritten note from a beneficiary saying thank you.


Mistake #2: not having donor-centric communication

Unsure if your message is donor-focused or not? You can guarantee a supporter will quickly lose interest and disappear when your organisation no longer communicates with their goals in mind. A donor will often walk away when:
  • they are not spoken to in a friendly, conversational way
  • communication with them is dry or uses unclear jargon. Example: ‘Stakeholders will appreciate the replication of the innovative programs.’ (A Flesch Kincaid Readability tool can help)
  • they receive communication from you that appears generic with no personalisation
  • you don’t connect your cause with the donor’s interest
  • you don’t show empathy for them or tap into their existing emotions
  • you don’t share enough in storytelling about how their gift helps


Mistake #3: not seeking to improve the donor experience

If your charity is too invested in talking about what the donor can give without taking a breath to improve the donor’s journey, their sense of connection and belonging to your organisation can start to dwindle.

Part of being human is making mistakes. Actively looking for ways to improve will help to build trust and loyalty with donors. When donors see that your organisation is always making an effort to value them, it creates a partnership that’s unbreakable and lays foundation for a little grace and mercy when your organisation hasn’t met their expectations.

By showing you are willing to hear how they think you can do better next time, an organisation that is open to suggestions empowers the supporter to feel as though they have more of a stake in your mission. It makes them feel part of your community rather than an ATM.


Are your donor comms in need of an overhaul?  We’d love to help you put together a Donor Journey plan to nurture your donors. Our donor development guide is a great place to start! Take a read here.