Donors – What they want to hear

When communicating with donors, focus on what they want to hear from you.  Resist the temptation to include everything that you have done recently.  Resist the temptation to focus solely on the importance of your cause.   Write from the reader’s point of view.images-5

What do donors want to hear??

Here are the results from 2 research surveys.  One from Canada and one from the US.  The results are very similar.  Decide which key points support each claim and add into the Brand Checklist.

****          Canadian Research       ****

Donors want to learn about:

1.  What their donations will be used for
2.  What has been accomplished recently with last year’s donation
3.  Latest news and current developments

“The Cynus Donor Survey”, Cygnus Research, 2012 Canadian edition, page 8

****      US Research      ****

Donors are looking for information on the efficiency and effectiveness of your non profit.   Donors want to know about:

1.  How efficient you are
For better or worse, the overhead ratio is still the #1 piece of information donors are looking for.

2.  The amount of good you are accomplishing
Be specific.  How many families received furniture for their new apartment?  Or how many acres of land were protected from development?

3.  How you will use their donation
Will it go towards overhead?  Will you buy a new truck so you can improve your turnaround time for deliveries?  Will you start a skill development program to help youth-at-risk get job experience.

Source:  “Money for Good” Hope Consulting, page 20


For your information, here are the rankings that donors gave to all types of information.  Be cautious when considering compelling stories about your cause (size of the challenge) or any celebrity endorsements you have.  They may not resonate with donors when compared to factual information about your efficiency.  Consider these Importance Scores when you are composing letters to donors.

Information desired by donors          Importance Score

how efficient you are                            25%
amount of good accomplished                      24%
how donation will be used                        18%
approach to solving problem                       7%
quality of team                                   5%
what donation will provide                        4%
size of the challenge to address                  4%
negative info, scandal                            2%
other                                             1%

For further details, see page 20 of the full report