Donor Relationship Stage 1: Catch Me – ft. Joanne Rogers from The Shepherd Centre

Donor Relationship Stage 1: Catch Me – ft. Joanne Rogers from The Shepherd Centre

As you embark on your journey to donor-centricity, it’s important to understand what stage of the donor relationship you are at with your donors.

Each stage presents its own challenges and opportunities so this 8-part blog series is dedicated to the different stages in an effort to equip you with ideas and inspiration to sustainably nurture and grow your donor relationships.

First up, we have donor relationship stage 1: Catch Me.

This is the stage of courtship. You are marketing yourself amongst a sea of competition, trying to attract and woo a donor by appealing to your similar interests and beliefs.

We asked LemonTree member Joanne Rogers, Senior Individual Giving Manager at The Shepherd Centre to share her experiences of acquiring new donors…

The Shepherd Centre is a registered charity providing a family-centred early intervention program to teach children born deaf or hearing impaired to develop spoken language.

Since 1970, The Shepherd Centre has assisted more than 2,500 children via early intervention Listening and Spoken Language therapy, providing families with assistance to develop their child’s spoken language, so they can unlock their complete potential and participate fully in society.

Premium Direct Mail

From 2011-2015 The Shepherd Centre invested heavily in premium direct mail acquisition, the packs included a number of premium items, ranging from tea towels and keyrings to gift cards and address labels.

This program proved to be successful and recruited almost 40,000 new supporters for The Shepherd Centre. At the height of performance, these campaigns saw response rates of 7%.

In 2014 we saw a decline in the performance of this acquisition channel with response rates and ROI declining to an unacceptable level. Response rates dropped to around 2% in 2015 and it was decided that this was no longer a viable acquisition channel for The Shepherd Centre.

Telemarketing

In 2014 a telemarketing program was introduced to acquire cash donors. In 2015 this program was scaled up and recruited over 5000 new supporters. As with the premium direct mail program, the telemarketing program was initially successful at a larger scale but we found that this level could not be sustained. In 2016 the decision was made to take a monthly supply of data from LemonTree to call.

Sustainability the Key to Success

This program has now been running for four years and recruits around 150 new supporters every month. The monthly telemarketing acquisition program is still running today and proving successful in recruiting both cash and regular donors.

The focus for The Shepherd Centre is now on recruiting regular givers via a two-step program of a non-financial interaction followed by a phone request for a regular gift. This is currently in the testing phase as we investigate different lead sources and donor engagement tools.

If you’d like to learn more from Joanne and your fundraising peers, we invite you to join LemonTree’s Donor-Centricity Collective (DCC). Every quarter we host webinars and events with industry speakers, as well as commercial speakers so you learn how to bring best practice to the NFP industry. Learn from others and share your own insights and experiences – through our private social media groups, events and blogs…all for FREE!

It takes a tribe to raise a family and it takes a collective of passionate, like-minded peers to change an industry and help grow sustainable giving in Australiajoin us today.

Thank you to Joanne Rogers for sharing her knowledge on the Catch Me stage in the donor relationship journey.

Next up in this series:

  • Welcome Me
  • Teach Me
  • Grow Me
  • Endear Me
  • Keep Me
  • Renew Me
  • Win Me Back
Get to know what drives the founder of LemonTree Fundraising

Get to know what drives the founder of LemonTree Fundraising

Traditionally, the first act establishes character, relationships and setting; it’s where the first plot point happens. This series collects the ‘first act’ jobs, careers or businesses of entrepreneurs… Meet Joel Nicholson.

Joel Nicholson isn’t afraid to challenge a decision. His first foray into work was as a teenager in a fish shop, where he says he learned “the classics”; customer service and people skills. “But after about three weeks I got sacked,” he says. “I went back to the boss and said, ‘That can’t be right’. He took me back in.”

But that false start wasn’t the career he would first seriously embark on: “My first career was in professional golf,” Nicholson says. “It’s such a mental game. I was really challenged by the idea of conquering your mind. That was the appeal, but I definitely had a view towards making it right to the top in the world.”

After playing for a few years he followed his ambition to Europe for a season, but a survey of the other older players had him questioning the realities of a career on the green. “I discovered there are too many freaks in this world and there’s probably an easier way to make a living… I looked around and there [were] a lot of 29-year-olds still doing the golf circuit. They were winning about $10,000 or $15,000 a year. That’s below the poverty line, basically. So even though they were freakishly good talent, the vast majority were broke.” It was a sobering realisation.

Change may force you into new situations but those situations often don’t make sense until after the fact. “After golf, I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to start my own business. I’m going to take over the world.’ I just literally came back, found a job and just started working in that,” says Nicholson. “After a number of years, the owners were on the verge of retirement, so I said, ‘How about I buy a part of the business?’”