the best question to ask your donors

Asking for donor feedback is invaluable to your fundraising planning. There is so much donors are willing to tell you about why they give, what they want more of and how you can improve.

But there is one question that I think is the best question you can ask donors, whether in person, by survey or in a direct appeal (mail or email ask):

"if you could send a message to the clients of our organization, what would it be?"

We did this with a client recently and the results were incredible. More than any other question, this revealed so much about how and why people were connected with the cause.

In fact, there are studies that show when you include this type of question with an ask for a donation, the response rate goes up. Plus, you can take this information and use it to build deeper donor relationship and have more meaningful donor communications.

Let me share with you a few ways you can take use these responses:

  1. First of all, and probably obviously, make sure those messages get to their intended audience. If appropriate, capture (through pictures of videos) the recipients getting these messages and share that through your newsletter or social media.

  2. Share these messages with your community more broadly. Every day, post one of the messages (anonymously) on social media. See if you can do a month of messages leading up to a fundraising ask. Take this a step further and use those social media posts to encourage non-supporters to send you their messages (and collect their email addresses in the process).

  3. Use the language and messages in subsequent asks for support. This is a biggie. Reflect back to your donors what is important to them when you're asking for continued support.

So go ahead, ask your donors this question and then put it to work for you. Let me know how it goes!