Getting Personal

1880 Mailing LettersHave you collected very many email addresses or anniversary dates from your donors?  I have tried over the years to ask our donors for their phone numbers, email addresses, anniversary dates, and more when we meet with them or phone them.  Recently, I went through our donor’s profiles on Facebook looking for email addresses and birthdays.  We always put our blog and email addresses on our brochures and prayer letters, too, hoping someone will email us.  You have probably done the same.  Like me, though, these efforts sometimes are not enough.

So, we send “getting to know you” questionnaires to our donors. We ask for their important dates, church name, and prayer requests, for example.   I’d say maybe 25% of the forms are returned.  (I have asked a few questions in an eMail instead, if I have an eAddress for them.)

The typical form looks something like this:

Name: __________________  Spouse’s Name: ____________________

Phone: _________________  (best time to call) __________

Recently, I read that we can increase the response to these questionnaires by changing the format. I just changed our questionnaire to look like this (only part of it – not the whole thing):

Dear Mike and Sus,

Thank you for letting us tell you about ourselves.  We are ________________ and _____________ and we have been married since ____________ (mm/yy).  Our children are ____________________________________ and we have enclosed a photo of our family so you can know us a little better.

We go to church at ____________________________.  I like to help with ____________________________ and my spouse helps with __________________________.

Please pray for us  ___________________________________.

We enclose a return envelope (a stamp on the envelope helps a lot) and a note thanking them for filling out the “Getting to Know You” letter.

In one study, a sales company’s response to their form increased significantly when they changed their typical form to a form that reads like a letter (the second example).  Some questions you might want to ask: children’s names, church name, birthdays, anniversaries, phone numbers, times to call, hobbies, place of employment, and definitely prayer requests.

The goal, of course, is to know our donors better and to find ways to show them our appreciation for being a part of our team.  Because I know anniversary dates and birthdays, I can send cards throughout the year.  Because I know their children’s birthdays, I can ask relevant questions, like “Is Steven planning to go to college?” and then offer to help locate Campus Crusade ministries on campuses.

How do you get to know your financial partners?

Related posts:

  • I wrote a series of posts on how to send regular greeting cards using this new information you’ve gathered.
  • I recommend keeping track of your donor’s information using the free software, TntMPD.

14 thoughts on “Getting Personal

  1. Kurt and I have been sending b’day and anniversary cards to our supporters for almost as long as we’ve been married (25 years). I can tell it means so very much to them. In some cases, it’s possible ours is the only one we receive.

    I used to hand write lengthy notes on them. I began doing a bi-monthly, more personal letter, though, that we insert instead. We still hand-write a quick note.

    Thanks for the tips on how to do this via tnt – we’ll check that out.


  2. Susan,

    Thanks so much for commenting.

    We even had a donor tell us last month that ours was the only anniversary card they received!

    A lot of our donors hear from us through email, so I tried designing a 5 1/2″ by 8 1/2″ sheet with some latest family news. I also hand-write something and enclose it in the card if I don’t have an email address for them.


  3. Thanks for the tips. I am terrible at cards, I can barely take care of getting cards to my own family:) Any other ideas about keeping in contact with partners? Do your partners really want that much contact from you. Some of ours don’t seem that interested. How do you find the ones that do want contact? I am sharing my deepest and darkest mpd secrets 🙂


    1. You’re welcome!

      A very good question, Brenda, and actually, if you are terrible at cards, this may not be something you will want to do. Or maybe, do your family and your top 50% with my system. I am guessing you could then count on one hand the cards you would do each month.

      I would say that your partners do want that much contact from you. The more they know you, the more interested they will become.

      I’ve decided this comment is post-worthy and will write a post today to answer your question more in-depth.


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