Importance of Donor Feedback

You and I probably agree that a workable definition of “donor feedback” is the donor taking time to give us something they consider valuable. Clearly, money is a form of feedback with obvious value. We usually get it because we ask.

But why don’t we treat the donor’s opinion the same way? All we have to do is ask. And, practically, when we do our chances of getting additional money increases dramatically because we have reciprocated with interest and respect.

Reciprocity is central to all human relationships. One-sided communication, as in treating a donor like an ATM and ignoring all else because “it’s a cost center” ignores the essential part of the relationship equation. I’ll bet my next 10 years pay that no one reading this has a close personal relationship that doesn’t involve the reciprocity that comes from conversations with your partner, best friend or trusted colleagues at work.

Sadly, our sector has done little to address this relationship deficit.

Just compare our paltry efforts with the for-profit world. In that sector they spend literally billions of dollars –not to mention the fact that venture capitalists are pour in hundreds of millions more—to solicit feedback and engage in conversation with their customers.

Let’s Learn From the Commercial Sector

Consider just this one statistic. In the commercial world 38% of all outbound marketing calls are aimed at determining and measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty through ‘conversations”.

The nonprofit worlds spends less than 1% on this type of outbound calling.

I’m not talking about some soft and fuzzy concept of politeness, or printing thank you notes on pink vs. ivory stock. I’m talking about hard, empirical evidence that gets to the heart of what most nonprofits struggle with: retention, commitment, increasing lifetime value.
Consider just this one finding from our research involving donors to 250+ nonprofits in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.:

For every donor who registers a complaint — i.e. provides
feedback — their retention increases 15 points. That’s right,
15 points, say from a 30 to 45% retention rate.

Notice I didn’t say the organization had to do anything to fix the complaint. All it had to do is ask that the complaint be voiced by the donor.

The notion that any nonprofit that sees this stat would not, for mere pennies or a dollar or two in staff time, start soliciting feedback is mind boggling. Maybe just start with one channel—the website, donor services, a live event. All at no risk, no cost.

Get On Board the Donor Feedback Train

Talk about an action worth taking. I guarantee you’ll never find an envelope or message test that yields as much potential benefit for retention. If you do I’ll pay for it.

Yet most nonprofits spend enormous sums on testing that leads nowhere. Testing “whispers” that have little or no impact.

Maybe the resistance to feedback stems from a fear of the negative. Organizations don’t want bad news. Well, get over it. The feelings are out there whether you solicit them or not.

Actually, and contrary to popular folk wisdom in our trade, most donor feedback is positive.

In reality seeking donor feedback and doing something with it is the ultimate “trigger-based marketing” to use a much misunderstood bit of jargon that’s currently making the rounds. When you have actual feedback it’s simple to convert it into a positive action (gift) on the part of the donor. It should surprise no one that the best time to make an ask is not when the Excel production schedule says so.

So what’s the problem? Why aren’t more organizations seeking their donors’ feedback? I’m convinced it’s “mindset”, not “money”.

That’s why we created a free automated tool you can put to work in a few minutes or at most a few hours depending on your in-house web talent. No more excuses about ‘infrastructure’, ‘time’, ‘effort.’ We’ve made it all minimal.

So, it’s up to your mindset.

How It Works

If you or your organization wants to get into the feedback game in a meaningful way start by collecting feedback from your website visitor. Free.

Simply click here to sign up and watch the video showing you how to do this. I guarantee than any competent webmaster can paste the code on your website in less than five minutes (that doesn’t count the time it takes you to track him or her down!)

Let’s Do It!

Boosting your retention and donor commitment rates is so simple.

Here’s how to do it with our Feedback Widget. Just follow the tutorial and do it!

Step #1: Visitors browse your website.


Step $2: Invite visitors to provide feedback after visit.


Step #3: Measure commitment and site visit satisfaction.


Step #4: Widget sends automated relevant responses to increase visitor commitment.


Step #5: Widget reports backs to you on a secure downloadable and easily analyzed format. Real time. Anytime. It’s all in your hands.

Learn more. Most importantly, GET STARTED.

You’re about to be astounded by what you learn.


Shout out if any questions. You can reach me at

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