The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Why Your Donors Want to Remain Anonymous

Anonymous Donors

It never fails.

When there is a large scale natural disaster, such as the Nepal earthquake, or an event that inspires charitable giving, my media alerts for Network for Good go through the roof. Many donors come to Network for Good’s giving portal to search for nonprofits and quickly make donations online, and reporters often list Network for Good as a way to easily give to charities responding to crises on the ground. We’re proud to facilitate giving to nonprofits across the country, including $1 million in donations for Nepal earthquake relief efforts.

In some cases, though, the press also features our giving portal as a good option for donors who wish to remain anonymous. Of course, there are many reasons a donor might want to remain anonymous, but the reason most cited in these articles is because these donors want to avoid getting on a nonprofit’s email list and being “spammed” by the organization, or worse, by other organizations who have purchased the list.

Ugh.

Friends, if this is a primary reason for our donors’ anonymity, we’re doing it wrong.

As you collect, grow, and manage your donor list, think about how you communicate with your donors.

Are you welcoming donors into a personal relationship with your organization or causing them to run and hide?

Let donors choose how and how often they hear from you. Give your supporters control over how they get information from you and the frequency of those communications. Many times, the fact that you are offering this control will make donors more likely to want to be on your list. And yes, if they decide to opt out or remain anonymous, you must respect that decision.

Let them know what to expect. When donors give or when supporters sign up for your newsletter, let them know what’s in it for them and what they can expect from your organization. These are important pieces of your nonprofit’s brand promise and will affect how people feel about your organization.

Have a strategic communication plan. Many nonprofits make communications missteps because they haven’t taken the time to think through their strategy for reaching out to their constituents. Before you send another email, sit down and figure out your organization’s rules around communication frequency, content, and segmentation. If it doesn’t meet your criteria, don’t send it.

Be mindful of your thank to ask ratio. This should also be part of your outreach strategy. Lynne Wester, The Donor Relations Guru, has a smart post about this very concept.

Keep donor information sacred. It’s not just good list hygiene and, in most cases, the law—it’s the right thing to do. Do unto others’ email addresses as you would have them do unto yours.

Being transparent and respectful in your communications will encourage more of your supporters to share more of themselves with you. Plus, you’ll help the rest of us look good, as well.

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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