I believe in giving donors a chance to self-select as a way of engaging them in your cause. When you give many people an opportunity to respond, a subset of them will do what you ask.
When they respond, two important things happen:
- By responding to the opportunity, they indicate their interest in your project.
- When they respond, they feel more connected to you. By doing what you’ve asked they move toward you rather than being passive or shying away.
I often think of this strategy as sprinkling fish food on the water. It’s easy, provides great information and helps you create a list of people who are actively interested in what you are doing.
2 Ways to Let Donors Express their Interest
Here are two simple and excellent ways to let your donors identify themselves as being interested.
1. Create a “Yes, I’ll Help” card.
The first is a simple, old-fashioned technique that you can use with large gatherings — perhaps at your gala or a reception or a community information meeting.
Create a card with several options indicating how people might help. If you’re in the early phases of a campaign, you might want to include options like this on the card:
YES! I’LL HELP!
Don’t forget to capture people’s names and contact information!
Now, here’s the catch…
This strategy won’t work well if you just leave the cards on a table for people to fill out (if they are so inclined). You’ve got to be more assertive than that.
Get your volunteers or staff to distribute the cards with pens and then collect them once they’ve been filled out. If people at the event are sitting at tables, you can hand them out at each table and let people know you’ll be back to pick them up. If people are standing around, cocktail party style, you can give the cards out and have people with baskets walk through the crowd asking for the filled out cards.
This little nudge of assertiveness makes all the difference. You’ll wind up with a good collection of cards that give you permission to get in touch with people and confirm their participation.
2. Use an online survey.
If you have a good size email list, you can create a survey and invite everyone on the list to give you their thoughts and opinions about a topic related to your campaign plans. It’s easy and free to create a wonderful online survey.
As long as you offer a reward to the people who participate, you’ll get a good response. You might want to enter the respondent names in a drawing for dinner for two at a local restaurant. Or, you might provide a special gift basket.
The HOW and WHY of online surveys
We created a survey last week for our email list. We wanted to know what our readers were seeking most in the way of content so we could respond in kind.
We used the great tool at Typeform to create our survey (another good tool is SurveyMonkey). It was easy to set up, attractive and effective. We had a fantastic response! And we learned some important things that will determine the direction for the content we create for the rest of the year.
Create your own online surveys
You can do the very same thing with a survey for your list. Here are a few tips…
- Be sure to ask for names and email addresses.
- In addition to asking their opinions on real topics, include some questions about how they’d be interested in helping.
- Send an email to your list inviting people to fill out the survey and letting them know that they stand a chance of winning something great.
You’ll wind up with great information about your donor base and a select list of names and emails of people who were interested enough to respond!
See Our Real-World Example
As an example, check out the survey we created for Capital Campaign Masters. Click the “start” button below.
If you’d be so kind, please share your opinions with us in the survey above and experience the survey process as a participant.
What’s the sweetener for our survey?
Fill it out by September 15, 2016 and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of the new 4th edition of Strategies that Work, the very big book on capital campaigns!
See… doesn’t that make you more inclined to take the survey?
And pay attention to how you feel as you fill out the survey. See if it draws you just a bit closer to us. 😉 The same thing will happen with the people on your list.
And just as we’re learning great stuff from the hundreds of people who are filling out our survey, you’ll learn from yours!
The Bottom Line
Don’t miss the opportunities at in-person gatherings and online through simple surveys to let the people on your list identify themselves as being interested. It’ll be good for you and it’ll be good for them.
Ever create a survey before? Share your tips in the comments below.