Thursday, May 16, 2013

Einstein-Frank Capra-Donor Retention

 I was recently at a conference and decided to attend a session that was going to focus on donor retention. The presenter spoke about all the current realities regarding retention as outlined in the AFP Fundraising Effectiveness Report. The solutions he was recommending were focused on getting the second gift within 90 days of the first gift or getting a donor set up to give monthly. These strategies he suggested were key aspects of a strategy to improve donor retention.

As I walked out of the session I was hearing one of Albert Einstein's famous quotes circling in my head. “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”

The reason why we are struggling with donor retention is because of our relentless focus on the transaction related to the gift. The suggested solution of focusing on the gift is the very reason there is retention issue in the first place. It simply comes from the same consciousness that created the problem.

Donors will choose to stay when the experience of giving is designed for them to want to stay. The feeling of accomplishment and being of value are key elements in driving customer satisfaction. Focusing on the timing of gifts will do very little in creating a satisfying donor experience or keeping them.

Imagine if you will the 1946 movie classic it's a wonderful life had two different story lines, and
your job was to pitch the two options and get the Studio to back the movie.

The first option is the one we all know, when faced with financial ruin George Bailey is given the opportunity by Clarence Odbody, his guardian angel, to see what the world around him would have been like had he never existed. In the movie George has the extraordinary opportunity to see the impact that he has actually had in the world.

The second option you get to pitch is a little different then the original movie.  The premise with this script is that on Christmas Eve when George is at his lowest emotional point because of his business challenges his
guardian angel comes to him to speak about the financials of the building and loan. For the next hour Clarence helps George understand where to cut expenses and how to generate more revenue by creating new opportunities for customer transactions. I'm sure that most audiences would be spellbound with the magical spreadsheet work of Clarence Odbody, Angel Second Class.

Which movie do you think would make it to the big screen?

So remember, every time you hear a donor retention solution a bell should ring in your head.

Looking forward to working with many of you this summer at the grand opening!

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