Penelope Burk: Get Thee Donors to Thy Website

Donors over the age of 65 support many, many more causes than those who are middle-aged. Midde-aged donors say this is a purposeful strategy. A lot of small gifts across a lot of organizations means that less of the funds actually make their way to the mission. This is one reason organizations may see a decline in the volume of donors, even though the average gift size may go up. Over 90% of donors say an honor roll is a waste of time!

Donors want increasingly concise communication. From an 8-page newsletter in the 90s to a 1-page sheet of paper in the 00s to 15 words now.

Donors of every age level, including 75+, are ready to transition to e-communication, though not necessarily e-giving. They will do their own research too. The more a donor engages in researching your organization, the more likely they will be to give, compared to passive donors who don't research.

"Fundraisers were the dictators of philanthropy," Penelope said. We told them when to give, how much, and how. Now "donors can do an end run around fundraisers," doing their own ind

We need to evolve from gatekeeper to customer service agent.

So, use that 15-word communication to drive prospective donors to your website. Provide lots of info, be transparent and brag about your accomplishments.

Thirty-two percent of donors who go to your website just to find information end up giving gifts, even though they did not originally intend to. And these gifts are far higher in value than direct mail donors who passively follow instructions.

Click here to see all posts from Penelope Burk's talk. In addition to donor relations, she shared some fascinating information and ideas on talent management: why fundraisers leave, and what organizations can do to keep them.