Today Dick McPherson and I announced a new workshop at UCLA Extension called “What Donors Want Now: Using Technology to Attract and Retain Donors.” You can find out more here, but I wanted to reflect a little on what we know donors want.

Despite all the fancy technological tools that are promoted to us as the next best thing in donor technology, the things donors want are pretty simple:

  1. To make a difference. Whether we call it “making an impact” or “responding emotionally,” donors want to feel a connection with a cause and feel that their donation makes a difference.
  2. To be thanked. The best research on this comes from Penelope Burk, who showed that being properly thanked for a gift is one of the most effective ways to retain donors. For the high-tech version, see Charity Water’s brilliant thank you video campaign.
  3. To be talked to like an individual. Who wouldn’t want this? Rather than getting mass emails, donors want communication that is tailored to them. A recent study showed that non-profit organizations often ignore donor communication preferences.
  4. To trust the organization. From being a good steward of money, to being accountable and transparent with donations, to just having a good-looking website, establishing trust is key to attracting and retaining donors.

Where digital tools (websites, social media, mobile giving, crowdfunding, email marketing, etc) really make a difference is that they make it possible to give donors what they want on a very large scale. So in this class we’ll take a look at how technology makes it possible to reach more donors than ever and how technology makes it possible to engage those donors in meaningful ways. (And we’ll look at how to manage and measure all of these tools!).

So if this is interesting to you, join us on June 27th-28th for a two-day workshop on attracting and retaining donors.


What Donors Want Now