Who’s your donor? Part 2

As we shared in Part 1, we’ve figured out that despite what you might think, the majority of your donors are:

  • Women.
  • Probably older than you prefer.

Today, we’ll continue with more about your typical donor …

  • She is busy.

We want to think that our donor will drop everything when our letter or email arrives in her mailbox or inbox. But the donor — or “buyer” — is living her own life. The ministry — or “seller” — has to make himself a welcome interruption.

This is one big reason why ministry marketers absolutely must give enormous attention to the “teaser” (the text which appears on the outer envelope of a mailing) and the subject line of an email, or the initial seconds of a phone call to a donor.

The donor isn’t a donor at that moment; she’s just a woman with a funny sound coming from her washing machine who’s wracking her brain to remember what she did with that recipe her husband liked. The teaser or subject line has to cut through all manner of mayhem to get through to her!

  • She is bored.

Well, at least relatively speaking. She is not automatically fascinated by what you have to sell. Only your very few, very most passionate, loyal donors are as passionate as you about your ministry. The typical Christian donor, in fact, is a donor to a number of Christian organizations. She is not only relatively casual about your cause, she is also (horror of horrors) interested in other causes!

The donor must be regarded as having no significant incentive to take time with your appeal, to process it, to respond to it.

This is why every donor communication must be constructed from her viewpoint. Every letter and email must be about her, not about you.

  • She is a bad reader.

The typical donor doesn’t read as well as you, because the typical adult doesn’t read at a level as high as the typical manager or executive — and ministry marketers are managers and executives. So long, complicated words and sentences won’t help you much in stating your case; in fact, they could hurt you.

We find that the visual construction of a direct mail package must suggest to the busy, bored, bad reader that she can absorb the message of the package in only a few moments. And emails need to be even shorter!

That’s why we recommend lots of short paragraphs, bite-size morsels, floating in lots of white space. If she glances at a letter and sees paragraphs of six lines or more, she receives a mental “alert”: Danger! Danger! This will take too much time and energy to absorb!

We also like to give this bad reader a few helps to draw her impatient eye through the appeal: underlining, margin notes, and the occasional paragraph stacked on a narrow column all help her to hop, skip, and jump through the letter with minimal effort.

The goal is for the donor to be done absorbing the message of the appeal before she even realizes what has happened!

If you’d like more info or help about doing any of the above, we’re here to do just that. Get in touch with us today!