Bad data may be costing your organization fundraising dollars: A donor preference campaign can change that

A month before Mother’s Day, I received an email from Canva acknowledging the holiday can be difficult for some and giving me the opportunity to opt out of related emails. I’m lucky that Mother’s Day is a good day for me. I have a great relationship with my mom, and though we live far apart, I’m able to call and talk to her on that day or any other. But I know this isn’t true for everyone, and it won’t be true for me forever.

By asking our preferences and giving us choice on the communications we receive, Canva is signaling that they value their relationship with each subscriber. As a result, they’re likely keeping many people on the general email list who may have otherwise unsubscribed over messages about a painful topic. And as someone who doesn’t feel the need to opt out now, I can say that I appreciate the offer and have an even more positive view of the company than I did before.

While nonprofit organizations are unlikely to have the technology of a multi-billion-dollar company, they also need to show each supporter that their relationship is valued and preferences respected. At a minimum, this means being able to track how people do or do not want to be contacted when they tell you.

The next level is proactively asking supporters when and how they want to hear from you – and giving them the chance to change their mind. Maybe 5 years ago, they weren’t in a place where they wanted to receive mail from your organization – is that true now? How will you know if you don’t periodically ask?

While a Do Not Contact flag may be an accurate and permanent label for some, many may have later changed their mind but not had an opportunity to let the charity know or may have received that flag in error to begin with – for instance, a supporter requesting not to receive mail solicitations being coded to not be contacted at all, out of an overabundance of caution.

Supporters who are inaccurately labeled as Do Not Contact are unnecessarily excluded from monthly conversion, reactivation, and upgrade activity – resulting in lost income for delivering your organization’s mission.

With the percentage of Canadians giving to charity at its lowest point in the past 20 years*, it is essential that organizations make the best use of their existing donor file. That’s why FD offers Donor Preference campaigns. By calling supporters with Do Not Contact flags, we can verify each individual’s preference for receiving communication across marketing channels – providing a stewardship touchpoint for donors, while increasing your organization’s contactable donor file and fundraising potential.

A recent Donor Preference campaign for a large humanitarian organization resulted in 40% of supporters contacted opting in to receive communication through at least one channel, and one year later:

  • A higher retention rate for Active Monthly donors who were contacted (whether they opted in to new channels or not)
  • A higher rate of additional one-time gifts for Active Cash donors who were contacted (whether they opted in to new channels or not)
  • A much higher monthly conversion or reactivation rate for Active Cash and Lapsed Monthly supporters who were contacted and opted in

To learn more about this case study and how FD can help increase your contactable donor file, reach out to us at