Oops! You Need to Know Better When You Know More!

Oops! Accidentally including sensitive information in a letter could have been a big mistake. Fortunately, for this school the recipient had a good nature and seemed to understand the context in which the letter was sent.

by Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz

by Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz

Today’s charitable donors – especially at the higher levels – are more informed and more sophisticated. Long gone are the days of giving to a nonprofit just because they seem to be a good cause. Organizations are earning their supporters through accountability, inclusion and transparency. And they are keeping them by driving effective programs, efficiently delivering important services, and by staying mindful of the bottom line. They are also paying attention and tracking their closest friends and most meaningful relationships, current and prospective.

So it’s not surprising that this school had a file on the donor — it’s in their long-term best interests. I’d bet that this donor has a file on the school as well. It’s unfortunate, though, that whoever folded the letter and stuffed the envelope failed to remove supporting information meant to help the President personalize the letter better. Their relationship

For organizations and development offices, when you know more sometimes you need to know better. Be diligent and purposeful with your donor communication, not just the content but the way it’s delivered. (This includes sending E-mail messages and forgetting the attachment!)

For donors & supporters, if a measure of impact you are making on our community includes folks keeping tabs on you, then you’re probably doing a good job. It’ll also help you – and them – find ways to help you make your impact even bigger, broader, or better defined. Keep up the good work!

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