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#94 How strong is your organisation’s immune system?

Our sector puts a lot of energy and resourcing into the recruitment of new Regular Givers (RGs). Nowadays it costs more than ever to acquire them, and the longevity of their gifts seem to be getting shorter and shorter. The shrewd charity knows that they need to stay in touch with their new donors. They need to thank them sincerely and offer them upgrades as soon as practicable. These extra touchpoints can be the difference between a failed campaign and a reasonable ROI. However, this is not always enough.

Donors are tricky customers. They don’t all just sit by the phone waiting for your call, some of them like to call you! They want to discuss their commitment to you and yours to them. This can be where your organisation gets into a little bit of trouble.

Your new RGs have probably been given a unique phone number for this campaign so that you know who they are when they call. We also know that most RGs don’t call for a quick chat and a gossip, they say they want to cancel their pledge or make a complaint. This is the front line. We need to defend our ranks through passion, empathy, sympathy, and constructive reasoning to keep them on our side.

We like to see this as your body’s first and second lines of defence – your immune system.

The human body has two immune response, the innate and the adaptive. The ‘innate’ is generic but prevents the spread and movement of pathogens. It is instant but has a short-term effectiveness.

The second, the ‘adaptive’, ‘acquired’, or ‘specific’ is a slower but more long-term way to prevent illness and is only found in vertebrates (hmm, makes you think).

Fundraising Partners has worked with a few Supporter Care Teams to improve lines of defence by ensuring that everyone who picks up the phone has a basic level of understanding of what it takes to effectively manage calls (and potential cancellations) – the innate response.

Secondly, we have upskilled specific staff to take on the adaptive response. We train them to:

  • understand which pledges should be saved and which one should be cancelled

  • tailor saves scripts for specific and common objections

  • open the donors up to more options than just cancelling

  • discover who a vulnerable donor is and how to treat them

  • give themselves the best chance to delight a donor and save your organisation’s income

  • measure the outcomes of these interactions

The last organisation we worked with has demonstrated increases in donor retention each month since their initial workshop – exceeding their own targets and are due to start implementing the rest of recommendations outlined including an email saves program and specialised call guides.

If your organisation needs a shot in the arm to boost its immune system before the end of the financial year, drop us an email at


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