In a matter of weeks, potential United Way donors across the country will be receiving a pledge form from their local United Way. The pledge form is one of the items that nearly every United Way donor will see, which makes it a valuable opportunity to communicate with donors, as well as collect information from donors. One United Way that is making the most of the opportunities offered by the pledge form is United Way of Pickens County, located in Easley, South Carolina. (www.uwpickens.org)
What are they doing right?
First, it is essential for every United Way to be able to reach their donors outside of the workplace. In the Donor Information section of the pledge form, United Way of Pickens County is asking for both home e-mail and home address, and either home phone or cell phone. This information can mean the difference between retaining or losing a valued donor who switches employers or retires. Speaking of retiring, note the check-off for “I plan on retiring in the next few years,” which lets the resource development staff know that they need to start reaching out to this donor directly, so that the relationship between United Way of Pickens County and the donor continues when they retire.
Second, the section titled Please send me information on: accomplishes two very important goals. First, the check-offs for more information about “our impact on education,” “our impact on financial stability,” and “our impact on basic needs,” tell the donor that the focus of United Way of Pickens County is on education, financial stability, and basic needs. Even if the donor does not check any of these statements, at least they know what United Way of Pickens County impacts. Second, if a donor does check-off one of these statements, the staff of United Way of Pickens County now knows what the donor is concerned about, and what they want to know more about. The marketing and communications staff at United Way of Pickens County can now target their communication to this donor, communicating what the donor wants to know, which deepens the relationship with that donor, since the communication is now targeted and meaningful.
Third, in the Thank You and Recognition section, the donor is asked how they want to be thanked. Not all donors want to be thanked the same way and, most importantly, knowing how a donor wants to be thanked makes it much more likely they will receive and remember the thank you. United Way of Pickens County offers several thanking options, including “no thank you,” which allows the donor to select what is best for them.
Fourth, the section How Do You Want to Make an Impact? allows donors to put their contribution to work where they feel it is needed. The three options for “education,” “financial stability,” and “basic needs,” which allow the donor to specify the amount of their contribution they want to go to each area, make it clear to United Way of Pickens County the concerns and interests of the donor. This information, when combined with the information from the Please send me information on: section, will make it clear why a donor supports United Way of Pickens County. The resource development staff can customize their thank you to recognize the interests and contribution of the donor, and the marketing and communication staff can communicate to the donor the impact of their contribution using a sentence like, “Your contribution of ___ for basic needs has resulted in ____ in Pickens County.”
This pledge form from United Way of Pickens County combines collecting essential pledge processing information with meeting the donor’s needs. When you develop your next pledge form, consider what information you need, but also what information will enhance your donor’s experience. United Way of Pickens County, you are Doing It Right!