By Lynne Wester
One of the biggest myths of fundraising is that our donors are always tuned into us and listening—that they’re looking forward to each and every communication we send. In fact, reality is that the nonprofits that a donor supports are just one portion of their lives. They have their family, their faith, their careers, and so much more. We can only hope to be a part of their daily existence but this often isn’t rooted in reality.
Now, technology has given our donors another few ways to tune us out. The first one was just released for owners of Apple iPhones. Now, in settings, iPhone users can silence all calls from numbers not already programmed into their phones. This is going to make calling programs even more difficult and also may stymie thank you phone calls. Be aware that this feature exists and perhaps send a text or email instead! Remember, many people feel phone calls on a cell phone that are unscheduled can be seen as intrusive.
In addition to these new phone features, many donors are using a product for their emails called unroll.me. This software and website goes through your email address and finds all of the potential subscription emails and spam and moves them all into one email a day, thus decluttering their inboxes.
This is a great and convenient service and indeed even I use it, but what it could mean is that they are ignoring your emails and rolling them up into their spam apps. Make sure your emails aren’t seen as spam and they are personalized, donor centered, and stand out among the crowd! You don’t want your emails to be rolled up and sent away.
What other ways are donors tuning you out? How do you cut through the noise and be unique? In 2015, the average American was receiving 88 business emails per day, according to the market research firm Radicati, but only sending 34 business emails per day. Because—who has the time to respond to 88 emails a day? Maybe someone isn’t responding because they’ve realized the interruption of a notification negatively affects their productivity, so they’re ignoring their phone to get some work done.
Time is more and more precious and we should remember that when we are asking for small slivers of it, or even large commitments, that there is a value placed on that time and we should be respectful of that. How are you adapting your communications in light of these new technologies? I would love to hear from you. Have you used either of these two technologies yourself?