When it comes to the recipe for lasting, committed relationships, there’s no ingredient as important as consistency.

Whether it’s your best friend, your spouse, partner, favorite restaurant, toothpaste or razor blade, I’ll bet that consistency is a main thread that runs through all these relationships.

Your best friend or partner didn’t get to be ‘best’ by being undependable; showing up sometimes late, sometimes early, sometimes on time.

And when you first discovered what is now your favorite restaurant, I’m certain that the second and third time you returned, the food, service and prices were everything you expected. Same with your toothpaste — one tube is not white and the next green. You know what you’re going to get each time you reach for it on the store shelf.

Without consistency there is little chance of repeated and loyal activity — no solid, lasting relationship.

So why do many nonprofit fundraisers and communications folks fail to understand this fundamental building block of the donor relationship process? Why do so many new donors give the first gift never to return? Could it be they were initially solicited with a mail appeal to save the whales, and then out of the blue received an online acknowledgement talking about the importance of saving forests?

Maybe it’s because of the silo — the direct mail folks don’t talk to the online folks who are doing the acknowledgements, and so there’s no consistency of message. Maybe no one in the organization is charged with making certain that messages, tone, style and positioning are consistent across channels. In my experience most nonprofits are excellent at this sort of inconsistency and their lousy retention rates show it.

Tom’s recent riff off Willis Turner’s 30 Ways To Lose Your Donor speaks to the importance of getting the second gift and Willis’ 30 splendid tips tell you what behavior to avoid. Now, if you follow that advice and make certain everything you do is consistent, you’ll be home free.

That’s why I was delighted to receive an email from Kathy Swayze over at Impact Communications offering a free and handy tool they’ve created to help you evaluate your messaging consistency across all marketing and fundraising channels.

They call it “The 30-Day Consistency Challenge”. It’s a simple worksheet that helps you take a ‘snapshot’ of your communications for a one-month period. It’s a great exercise for the marketing, communications or fundraising staff.

You can download and print “The 30 Day Consistency Challenge” free of charge here.

As The Boss says:

“Getting an audience is hard.
Sustaining an audience is hard.
It demands a consistency of thought,
of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.”

                                                                        –Bruce Springsteen

Far too many nonprofits are horribly inconsistent.

How is your organization doing? Are you speaking with one voice? Or is every department (silo) in your organization singing their own tune?


P.S. To understand more about the importance of consistency when it comes brand and reliable donor experiences also see this post over on the DonorVoice blog.

P.P.S. Kathy and the folks at Impact Communications welcome your sharing the results of your “30 Day Consistency Challenge.” In fact, every organization that shares the results of their Consistency Challenge with Impact will receive a copy of Sarah Dunham’s Brandraising, about nonprofit communications. Download and print the Consistency Challenge here.

This article was posted in: Communications, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Nonprofit branding.
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