Ideal Role for Mass Appeals?

In a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy,  fundraising researcher and speaker, Penelope Burke admonished readers about the value of targeted fundraising efforts. Burk reminded nonprofits that mass appeals, are a useful tool for identifying potential prospects but should not be used to solicit funds from repeat donors. According to a recent study of charitable donors, over solicitation, is the top reason they reported for not being a repeat giver.  Keeping a donor’s name in the mass appeal mailing pile once they’ve already given or sending out a second (third, or fourth) appeal with your follow up thank you letter leaves a bad taste.

Instead of asking for more money, let the thank you stand alone by making it brief, sincere and clearly outlining what you did with the monies granted.  Once the recipient of a mass appeal has given at least once, your next step should be to thank them for their gift, explain clearly where the funds donated have been used and seek out an opportunity to cultivate a relationship that positions you to better understand their giving interests, habits and goals over the long term. Remember the goal is not secure a donation, but rather a donor.