Seven is Still the Magic Number
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 21:06

The "old" wisdom was to touch donors seven times a year to keep them engaged.  Of course this was the wisdom before the dawn of electronic communications and social networking, so it must not be relevant anymore, right?

I was reading the most recent issue of Advancing Philanthropy when I came across a box with, you guessed it, "Seven Touches."  The article listed the old favorites in its summary of seven touches: Prompt Thank Yous, Impact Reports, Annual Reports, Volunteer Recognition Cards, Birthday Cards, Thanksgiving Cards, and Personal Phone Calls.

Wait - no social media?

Nope.  Should you be using social media?  Absolutely.  Should you consider it as one of your "touches"? No.  One of the keys to a successful appeal letter is the personal aspect - the letter is from me to you.   Social media still has not cracked that personal aspect - tweets, status updates, etc., are sent to a group, and are often seen as coming from the organization, not a single person.

What about email?

In my opinion, email is still not as personal as receiving something in the mail.  I get a ton of emails from different nonprofits every day - and every one of them strives to look "personal."  But I still delete them without batting an eye.  Snail mail, though, still holds my attention.  And the research backs this up.  Among major direct mail organizations with significant email programs, 76% of new donors came from direct mail appeals, and 79% of their gifts came through direct mail appeals (Blackbaud: 2011 donorCentrics™ Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report).

Bottom line?

The tried-and-true still works best.  Find a way to reach out seven times - personally - to your donors in 2014.

Need help with donor cultivation and retention?  Give us a call!


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