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Understanding and Engaging different types of Parents and Alumni Donors.

by Ryan
2 min read
Oct 5, 2016 8:00:00 PM

You have carefully crafted the financial appeal in email form. It is informative and, if you do say so yourself, inspiring. It does not focus on need but opportunity. You offer specific examples of how this project is cost-effective, unique, and clearly meeting a need that closely aligns with your organization’s mission. You are bold and clear in asking for a gift, and yet you appropriately express empathy for the recipient of the letter and reliance upon God to enable this particular project to go forward. The graphics are professional and compelling, but not excessive. You wait expectantly.


Three weeks later, it is time to review the responses. Your IT department verifies that of the one thousand emails sent, only 38 percent of the emails were even opened! Ugh! But what about the gifts? How many came in and what do they total? How did people respond to the appeal?

Here’s an email response. It says, in part:

“Thanks for your informative email. I’ve thought for a long time you should be doing something like this. Hope this gift of $250 helps.”

Not bad, you think, spirits lifted. In fact, this is great. Then you look at response number two:

“Why do you keep sending me emails begging for money? Don’t I give you enough already? I’ve received six appeals for funds from you in the past two months. How much are all these appeals costing you, anyway?”

Yikes, you say to yourself, I’d better figure out what’s going on there!

Response number three:

“Please call me. I have a few questions regarding how this program works. I’d like to consider an investment over the next couple of years.”

Sweet! Then, response number four:

“I wish I could give, but I’m on a fixed income and I just cannot this year. Please know that I care about your work and pray for you regularly.”

Response number five:

“That’s it. Take me off your list. You are always asking for money, but when I wrote your CEO with a complaint last year, I didn’t even get a response. Why should I care about an organization that is unresponsive to me?”

In total: 620 people didn’t even bother to open the email, but 157 responded with gifts, totaling $18,780 dollars—not bad! But, over half who read the appeal gave nothing, and three people were offended by the contact and asked never to be contacted again. How can this be?

The truth is, not all givers are the same. There are at least four kinds of givers, and the more we understand about their attitudes and habits of giving, the better we can anticipate and appropriately address the mind of the donor.

Is this true in your organization? Have you had a similar experience? At Generis, our team specializes in helping ministries like yours bridge the gap between your amazing vision and current funding. We'd love to schedule a time to discuss your project and how we could help! Let us know when works best for you. 

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