I like to be asked to give to a worthy cause or charity. I really do. And yet, sometimes I wish I could put a filter on my mailbox that screens out many of the solicitations I receive.
Most donors—and I believe I am fairly typical in this regard given the research—really want to be asked to give. Conversely, they don’t like being over-asked and asked in inappropriate ways.
There is a particular organization—one that I have supported in the past and genuinely believe in their mission—that regularly annoys me with their “fire hose” approach to solicitation. I am annoyed for several reasons. First, the sheer volume of the direct mail I receive from this organization is staggering. There are times when I receive as many as five solicitations in one month. I can only wonder what that costs. Second, there is apparently no attempt to discriminate in their mailings or tailor to them to me—a sometimes regular donor with above average interest. Thirdly, when I am solicited by this organization there is absolutely no tie-in or recognition of my past support.
Despite all of this, the organization continues to raise money; although I’m sure not as much as they could were they to approach their donors differently. The organization has a strong, compelling case. Apparently, the decision makers at the organization believe that the urgency and gravity of their case outweighs any genuine consideration of their donors. This is truly short sighted as well as not a little insulting to those of us on the receiving end.
The result is a virtual flood of solicitations that are timed to the organization’s perception of need rather than the donor’s inclination to invest. I’ve actually received two or three additional solicitations after I’ve made a gift BEFORE that gift was acknowledged. Oh, and by the way, they ALWAYS include another solicitation with any thank-you I receive. Some never learn.
Larry C Johnson