Learning More About What Our Donors Really Want

Categories: ASC, Blog

Development Wednesday

By Chavon Carroll, Donor Marketing Officer 

Our donors are the lifeblood of our organization and the fundamental reason we exist, but because we have so many of them – 23,413 by our most recent count – we often run into problems trying to assess how we can better serve their needs.

A few questions that pop into mind, include:

  • Are we doing a good job telling them where their gift goes?
  • Do they feel appreciated?
  • How are we doing in our communication efforts?
  • Are they not only giving but also “going” and attending events in the cultural sector?

Luckily, we got the chance to do an extensive web-based donor survey in April by partnering with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. It was an anonymous way for donors to tell us their honest opinions about the job we’re doing and how we can improve their experience.

With over 40 detailed questions on a variety of topics, we got feedback from over 2,000 donors and learned some really valuable lessons that is changing the way we’re doing things and improving our communication methods.

Based on our donors’ wants, we decided to change to better meet their needs, which include:

  • Altering our acknowledgement process to get our donors their Connect with Culture card sooner so they can put them to immediate use and visit the cultural community.
  • Making our messaging more relevant to the reasons donors’ are motivated to give in the first place (22% say it’s because arts and culture adds to the overall quality of life, while 21% say it’s for arts and cultural education programs).
  • Developing new communication tools designed to inform our donors about the impact their gift is making in the community and the people who benefit from it (20% of donors want to hear more stories of the organizations and people impacted by their gift)
  • Better educating the public that anyone can always view our financial statements online on our website here (13% of donors’ comments about the financial stewardship of their gift were aimed at learning more about where the money goes).

This, of course, is just the beginning of an annual process of constant improvement in how we can better meet the needs of our donors. They are, of course, who make all we do possible!

SPECIAL SHOUTOUT AWARD goes to Eric Caratao and the entire team at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute who managed our survey.  Eric is awesome, detail-oriented and an expert in the field!