Thursday, October 2, 2008

Me and me mum

Its been a whirlwind couple of weeks back in Australia, with trips to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Last week as I was having dinner with my family I told mum I needed a photo of her and I for a presenation I was doing for work. She got all excited thinking I was doing a 'this is my family' type gig at telling colleagues stories of old family holidays and the like.

So my diplomacy skills escaped me when I explained that I wanted a photo for a Masterclass I was presenting, highlighting the difference in different generations of donors... Errr...sorry mum! But to make it up here is that lovely picture of you. :)

Anyway, what staggers me as I meet fundraisers in all parts of the world is the general lack of differentiation in the way we treat donors that are so fundamentally different in their behavior, life stage and the way they were recruited.

I am talking specifically about donors recruited on the street onto an automatic payment (regular or monthly gift) - as we affectionately call 'F2F donors'.

I'm a classic F2F recruit. Im 31 years old and data from Pareto's benchmarking studies tells me I am the typical (I.e. average age) F2F donor.

Yet its amazing how many organizations fail to recognize the differences in the way I behave and the way my mum (donors recruited through other more traditonal channels I.e. direct mail, telephone) behaves.

Someone in a certain (will remain nameless) charity who has a large program recruiting F2F donors once told me they had been in their role almost 12 months and yet had never been told or taught that this group behaved so differently.

Think about the way F2F donors are recruited. They are usually stopped on the street by someone of similar age. Typically on their lunch break, short of time and unlikely to have been looking out for a canvasser to make a commitment to a charity.

They are more transient, because of their age. They typically have less disposable income, again a factor of age. They are also more mobile and more receptive to mobile and email technology.

Besides their ongoing commitment through their automatic payment they dont do much else. They will upgrade (if contacted by phone) but they dont respond to direct mail appeals and they are rubbish bequest prospects (again, a result of age and lifecycle).

I could go on for ages, but I wont. Mainly because I am now on holidays and about to get stuck into a BBQ my future father in law is cooking up.

But consider these points:

- F2F (younger) donors behave differently

- Cognitive dissonance (the horrible feeling you have when you question a decision you have just made) may take effect after a F2F donor has signed up - so do everything you can to kill this early on - welcome calls, materials reaffirming their decision early on after they join

- Upgrades will work if you use the phone. Get to them early, say 4-6 months after recruitment. Even if they dont upgrade, the phone call if done properly, will act as an attrition buster.

- F2F is bringing in tens of thousands of donors each month in most developed fundraising nations, so dont dismiss it lightly. But do think about how to cultivate these special people.

OK, thats it from me. My charcoaled steak is now ready. I return from leave on the 16th of October so may not post any new entries till then.


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