You have a great cause, a great ask and a little bit of budget…but who do you approach?
It’s important from day one that you – as a fundraiser – are building your list of people that are interested in what you do and happy to hear from you.
But time after time I work with charities that have neglected this process for 5…10…50 years. Charities that have literally left supporter details sitting in a box before binning them. And countless charities that have never asked. You’ve had successful event after successful event, but where are those attendees now?
Events (fundraising or not) are a key place to capture details and ‘opt-ins’.
For example, here at One In Four, the charity had been running training sessions for years. One of the first things I introduced when I started working with them was to get all future training participants to join my mailing list. That’s giving me an extra 250 prospects a year, some of whom have already converted in to donors and fundraisers. For a small charity like One In Four that’s a big deal.
Every interaction is an opportunity to get someone on your mailing list. But to do that well:
- Someone (staff or volunteer) needs to be manning a ‘clipboard’ and actually asking. A piece of paper and pen in the corner of the room just won’t cut it.
Lianne Howard-Dace, Innovation Officer at Christian Aid, adds “If you use Mail Chimp check out the Chimpadedoo app which allows you to add people direct to your list from a tablet (and you can send an automatic “great to meet you at our event” email) – you don’t have to have an internet connection and it saves trying to read people’s handwriting afterwards!”
- The sign-up needs to sound appealing (balanced with ticking the data protection boxes). Something like “YES I would like to be kept up-to-date on PigeonAid’s progress, events, fundraising and news!”
- Old school sponsorship card trick: Put a ‘test’ person in the first line that has completed every part. People often will only fill out as much as the person before them.
Michael Kitching, a Fundraising Manager at SSAFA, suggests adding three or four names at the beginning instead of just one. “I am pedantic enough to have trialled the response rate based on how many names at the top and so 3 or 4 do seem to improve it slightly from 1 or 2. I am as boring as I sound.”
Even if you haven’t been growing your mailing list, it’s never too late to start.
Of course the next challenge is to send them something that keeps them interested and keeps them active…