Next Gen Donor Communication

When it comes to donor communication, one of the most common methods to segment lists is donor level. While that may seem intuitive, you’re almost certainly leaving money on the table.

As an alternative, Ceci Dadisman published an article at ArtsHacker this week that provides four key aspects of moving your donor communication to the next level.

  1. Identify your most highly engaged donors, no matter their “level”.
  2. Create messaging that will be compelling to each segment.
  3. Don’t include an ask in every communication.
  4. Use all of your communications channels.

A Guide To Better Donor Communications

At the heart of this guide is the notion that donors should be segmented on engagement levels. After reading her outline, I could think of dozens of instances where I’ve seen development communication produce counterproductive results for no other reason than they weren’t connecting with donors in a way that accurately mirrored their engagement.

Each of the four points above includes expanded content with examples.

Another good element of this approach is it helps break down the devo/marketing silos that are still far too common inside most nonprofit performing arts orgs. If nothing else, this approach is a great use of your time as an exercise in pushing back against those self-imposed performance limitations.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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