What they say isn't always what they mean...

Key takeaways from our research on core donors: Part 2

By Caoileann Appleby - Nov 26 2018

This one is so important we've given it a whole post to itself. If you're new to our latest research on Irish donors, catch up on Part 1 here.


3) They don’t expect much…

In comparison to UK and US donors, Irish donors didn’t have high expectations of their charities in terms of donor care and were less likely to downgrade their support because of poor thanking or feedback. 

Most were (at first) reluctant to ask for more from their charity and were usually at pains to point out that the charity was the expert:

I don’t get on a plane and ask the pilot to move over because I don’t like the way he’s flying. It’s the same thing really.
I trust people who are running the show and I believe they would be doing a good job.

In the words of Bluefrog's Mark Phillips: "they're just... nicer than UK donors".


So you don’t need to worry about donor care?

Of course you do. Why?

Firstly, when donor care was good – donors noticed. They really noticed.

If you so much as made them a cup of tea they’d send you a thank-you card!
They send me a thank you letter straight away and I have a read of it. I’m pleased with what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

Secondly? It matters when it comes to your bottom line. It’s no coincidence that the donors getting the best donor care in this study supported the charity with the best fundraising results.


Thirdly, our experience and research tells us otherwise. From small to large and across different sectors, in our clients’ DonorVoice surveys, consistently 8 of the top 10 donor experiences which predict long-term loyalty are donor care experiences. Things like getting a good response when you phone, being thanked promptly, and having your queries answered effectively. They might seem too basic to bother with, but if you're not doing them, other charities will: and your donors will be come more committed to them than they are to you. 


And finally, when we dug deeper in the supporter interviews, these donors did want more. A good newsletter was usually valued, but particularly, they wanted more feedback on how their support has had a real impact on the specific need that they’ve responded to:

There’s one type of communication I’d like to see although it would probably be difficult, you see images of children and they’re absolute skin and bone and you say to yourself well they couldn’t last another day, now it would be nice to know in a few months how that child is, whether he or she is still alive. And the part that the onsite hospitals played in that. I’d like to pick out somebody and I’d talk to my grandchildren and I’d say look at what happened there with the few shillings we put in and you’d see Thomas in Uganda and he was almost gone and we brought him back to a healthy life.

What do you need to do next? 

  • Even a basic upgrade to your donor care processes will have a big impact. Make sure your thank yous are prompt, personal, specific and heartfelt. For more detail on what matters to your donors specifically, ask us about DonorVoice research bespoke to your charity.
  • Show more feedback – a donor-focused newsletter is good. Specific feedback on case studies is great. Push internally for more content that shows long-term impact and get this to your donors.


Keep an eye on the blog for more on our DonorVoice findings and our research into mid-value Irish donors, and get in touch if you’d like to chat about how these findings apply to you.

Tagged with: Core DonorsFundraising ResearchIreland

Caoileann Appleby     @Qaoileann


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