Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Are You A Relationship Wrecker????

There is a lot of talk these days about the importance of relationship building for successful fundraising, marketing and communications — especially in the online world.

But what if you're a terrible relationship builder? Are you actually better at alienating prospects and supporters than you are at drawing them into your orbit?

Here are some signs that you are ruining your relationships with donors and actually driving them away…

You're slow to respond
The sheer volume of messages we get on Twitter, Facebook and inboxes overwhelms us all. But that doesn't mean we should ignore online correspondence. Like it or not, responding quickly is part of the culture of online media and ultimately helps build trust. If you are so overwhelmed by your on-line life create an auto-responder to let people know that you will get back to them within 24 hours. Create a calendar to get your content publishing schedule under control. Get more people in your organization blogging, tweeting and updating your Facebook page to share the workload.  But don’t let too long elapse before you respond…donors really don’t like to be ignored.

You take more than you give
Relationships are a quid pro quo. While I'm not suggesting that you keep a scorecard after each event, meeting or phone call with a new partner, be sure to give at least as much as you take. For example, if a colleague offers to re-tweet an article on your behalf, be sure to reciprocate with a link or comment on their blog the next week.

You Don't Know When To Stop
When a donor responds to your appeal by directly saying they can’t right now… don’t pursue it.  Continuing to send them personal emails and phone calls just makes donors annoyed and will make them re-think whether they should contribute in the future. Don’t be so attached to asking for the contribution that you don’t listen to how the donor is responding.

You Are A Non-Profit Narcissist
Narcissus (Greek mythological character) fell in love with his own reflection in the water of a spring and wasted away. Far too many nonprofits still communicate as if they are the center of the universe. BORING!  People don’t really care about your new hire, the fact that you just moved offices or have a state-of-the-art website. They are also not necessarily interested in hearing you constantly complain about your problems. People who donate want to hear what your organization has achieved, how it is helping to make the world a better place and how you are going to specifically use the money they donate to continue doing good work.

You Guilt Trip
Donors want to help, but they don’t want to feel that the future of your organization (or fundraising campaign) rests on their shoulders.  Once you start guilt-tripping donors into contributing you’ve wrecked your relationship and can't go back to them in the future. 

Remember donors give because they choose to…not because they have to.   If any of these tactics sound familiar it is time to put together a new fundraising strategy.  Don’t be a relationship wrecker!

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