May 10, 2018
By Jack Doyle, Amergent President
The most unexpected outcome of making $100 grants in February of 2018 — to 17 of Fidelity Charitable’s Most Popular organizations in 2017 — has been the lack of follow-up or attempts at donor engagement. After all, these charities received thousands of grants in 2017 and should know best how to do this.
My expectations were basic:
1. My grant would be immediately acknowledged as having been received.
2. Most would say when they received it and how much it was for.
3. I hoped most would acknowledge the grant was from Fidelity Charitable.
4. I would begin receiving regular donor communications within 60 days.
What actually happened is collectively a disappointing donor experience, with some positive exceptions. It made me wonder — is this an internal training issue for their donor services group? Does their CRM support know what to do or even what they expect it should be doing?
BACKGROUND from the study of 17 charities that do receive thousands of DAF grants annually:
• 12 acknowledged my grants automatically; of the 12 only eight of them had the correct language (the biggest mistake was giving me the letter version for a tax-deductible gift).
• We had to call and request a grant acknowledgment from five of the organizations; they indicated their CRM is set up to acknowledge the sender, but that Fidelity is flagged for no acknowledgments.
• We accepted the offer to send us a “manual” thank you letter from these five, and some of them sent a letter with the wrong wording (a DAF donor cannot be told the grant is tax deductible).
• Three of the 17 sent us welcome letters with an opportunity to give by mail enclosed or donor cultivation cards (nothing but affirmation/inspiration). 14 missed a natural opportunity to engage with a new donor.
• In over two months since all gifts were received, we have received one magazine from one organization and multiple appeals from just three organizations.
• It’s as if we don’t exist as a donor to the others.
What might be happening in all of these places? What might you check to make sure the CRM solution is supporting you in all the ways you need it for this type of donor?
1. How do you handle a donor with a soft credit? To these organizations, I am a donor with only one soft credit gift of $100. If they only look for recent donors with actual gifts of $100 or more and don’t select recent donors with soft credits of $100 or more, they will not select me. A soft credit gift is easily missed by a lot of CRM standard selects.
2. Why didn’t their system automatically acknowledge my grant? How are you set up to acknowledge a soft credit of a grant you receive from Fidelity Charitable or any DAF or Community Foundation?
3. Why haven’t I received ongoing donor communications from 13 major non-profits? See if I would be included in your communications if my only gift is a soft credit for the FC grant.
I’m not feeling the love that I’m sure all of these organizations all want their new donors to feel.