As year-end approaches, so does the rush to make sure there’s a “You Made a Difference” (YMAD) piece ready for your communications in the new year. For today’s blog, I’m going to share with you a way to create impact-based touch points that are inclusive of all your donors and their personality types.
So, what inspired this blog? Well, just a few weeks ago, a client sent in a YMAD draft for review by our team. The good news is, they were thinking about their donors and planning ahead to show the impact of the donor’s gift. The not-so-good news? It was data heavy. Now, data is not a bad thing, but this piece was so numbers-heavy that it was overwhelming and didn’t connect. I found no inspiration in what I was reading and stopped just seconds into it. If I felt that way, I knew others would as well. Sure enough, as my teammates joined the discussion, the consensus was that we weren’t inspired.
This raises the question: “If numbers aren’t enough, how do you create a compelling YMAD piece for donors that also shows real impact?”
Since it’s the holiday season, allow me to share an illustration that might help underscore the thoughts shared here. When hosting a party, do you buy food only you like? Or do you consider what your guests like? As a recovering event planner, I can tell you that you don’t worry about personal taste. Instead, you think about everyone else in the room. Questions come up, like: is there a vegetarian option? What about a fish option? Party planning may not be an exact metaphor, but you get my point.
Creating a donor impact piece can follow this same type of logic. (Please don’t mail fish). Rather than thinking only about what you find meaningful, think about what your donors find inspiring. Remember, our job is to learn our donors’ passions and interests and then report back to them about those areas they care about most. When we do, we affirm for them the very reason they choose to give. And when we do that, they will be more committed and may even increase their gifts.
And at the same time, we may wonder: what are the ways donors like to engage and learn about impact? Well, just like when planning a menu, there’s no one size fits all. But if you ensure your impact piece incorporates the four different donor personality types below, there’s a strong likelihood that you’re going to be able to inspire nearly all donors on your caseload.
Okay, let’s examine these four donor personality types:
- The Heart/Emotional – These are donors who love heartwarming stories! They’re your more empathic donor who has their bucket filled by hearing the stories about how their investment is making a difference.
- The Innovator – These donors want to know what fun new projects or programs you’re launching. They want to know how you are shifting and innovating as an organization, and how they’re making that work possible.
- The Data Nerd – Sure, this really should be “The Analytical Thinker” but because I too am a data nerd, I feel like it’s only fair I label them as such. These are the donors who want numbers. They want to know how many people are impacted by your work. They want to know what their gift of $1,000 has done and how many people it served.
- The Organizer – This one is a little harder for me to articulate into the donor world. But these are donors who like information presented in a clear and organized fashion. They want the information to be timely, clear, and concise. This is a donor who doesn’t want a YMAD for their 2022 giving in May of 2023, in the middle of a 20-page report. They want a clear statement of what happened in 2022 by January or February of 2023.
There you have it, four types of donor personalities who may appreciate learning about impact in ways that speak to their unique outlook. And, yes, some people fall into multiple buckets. For example, I already told you I’m analytical, but I’m also emotional, so combining data with a good story will get me every time.
So next time you’re planning to share impact reports (YMAD) with your donors, try to think of something that inspires ALL your donors, not just a few. Create something that incorporates all four personality types. You know what will happen? You’ll fill your donors’ buckets – and not just some of them, but nearly all of them.
Think outside of your comfort zone and your personality type to build something that will truly inspire everyone. In other words, don’t be the person who just serves bacon at the party. And definitely don’t mail fish.
Kara Ansotegui is a Client Experience Leader at Veritus Group. She has over 20 years of experience in non-profit leadership serving in fundraising and marketing executive roles. Kara has been responsible for strategic program development in major gifts, mid-level, and donor relations and has served as the CRM data management SME for numerous non-profits. She has an undergraduate in Business Administration from Oregon State University and holds an MBA in Marketing from Georgia State University.
If you have the time, I’d love to see what you consider a strong thank you letter that hits all four personality types. Bonus if the letter is for arts and culture!
Hi Lisa – Thank you for your message! We don’t have a thank you letter example that hits all four personality types, but we were able to find a follow-up to an introduction letter that covers a good amount of the personalities so you can see how they’re spoken to (see bolded, capitalized text):
Just a quick follow-up to my intro letter to say thank you for your partnership with [ORG NAME]! Normally I would call to thank you, but I don’t have an updated number for you.
You are making it possible for [INSERT MISSION IMPACT STATEMENT]—what an incredible gift! (HEART)
To help illustrate the impact of half your last gift to [ORG NAME], $[GIFT AMOUNT] is the approximate cost of [INSERT EQUIVALENCY LANGUAGE]. (DATA NERD) [INSERT PROBLEM AND IMPACT STATEMENT TO ILLUSTRATE THE BIG IDEA]
Thank you for making it possible to care well for [WHO YOU’RE SERVING]!
The letter I sent was to introduce myself as your new point of contact at [ORG NAME], and I would love to connect with you soon to hear more about what has inspired your partnership with [ORG NAME].
Are you available sometime this week for a short phone or zoom call? (TIMELY)
I am so grateful for you and for what you are making possible—looking forward to connecting soon!