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Skagit Valley Hospital

What Happens When We Assume

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I admit it.  Like many other people I know, I’ve ignored the statements from my retirement account for nearly a year now.  But even though I never opened them, my financial managers kept sending them.  They even sent other things to me, which I didn’t open either.  I’m not really proud of it, but I did it.  From my manager’s perspective, however, I was probably a loyal customer – he had no reason to assume otherwise.  There were buy and sell orders, fees collected, and mail which (though unopened) was not returned.  It isn’t that I didn’t care or wanted a different manager, it was just that in the mix of other things going on in my life, opening that mail was not a priority for me. 

While talking with my wife (who diligently opens all of her mail) about my behavior, it occurred to me that many nonprofits might make the same assumption about their donors – with the newsletters, invitations on Facebook, direct mail appeal letters, etc. that their donors are all engaged investors. 

So, while there are people like my wife, who you can count on to read their mail – there are also many who you simply cannot count on.  What does this mean to your organization?  In short – it demonstrates that there is nothing quite as important as opportunities for face-to-face interactions with your donors.  It also underscores the value of your fundraising volunteers leveraging their personal connections to invite donors to events, briefings, etc.  Only with that personal connection, can your organization be brought to the top of the priority list.

Fundraising expert Penelope Burk as much as confirmed this with hard data in her blog entry “A Fundraising Catch 22” http://www.cygresearch.com/burksblog/?p=205 It’s a must read for your volunteer fundraisers.

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