P O S T E D B Y A L B E R T
Because our online encounters are mediated by servers, cables and radio waves, and because they happen in a virtual space defined by 1s and 0s, they often have a gauzy, unreal quality.
We use pseudonyms to preserve our anonymity. We leave drive-by comments on blogs and other online meeting places, seldom deepening our relationships beyond one or two exchanges.
We’re there one instant, gone the next.
Unfortunately, many of us who work at nonprofit organizations carry these same Internet habits to our encounters with online donors.
In a recent article titled “Cyber Journey: A real-world look at online fundraising,”* Tom Gaffny describes how he went online and donated $15 to each of the 66 largest charities in the United States. He wanted to know how today’s charities are treating online donors, and his results were eye-popping and, frankly, heartbreaking.
Only nine of these charities saw Tom’s gift as an opportunity to establish and begin nurturing a relationship with a new donor:
While the “Yep, we got [your gift]” crowd dealt with me at arm’s length, and the “Thanks, we’re grateful” organizations reached out to shake my hand, this group [of organizations] wanted to give me a hug and a pretty big pat on the back.
I strongly recommend Tom’s article for some great tips on how to follow up on a gift from a cyber-donor.
It’s been well established that online donors tend to be more generous than their off-line counterparts. Given the cold cyber-shoulder we so often present them, is it any wonder they’re also less likely to continue contributing after their initial gift?
* The NonProfit Times, March 15, 2007, pp. 20-21.