How to Record and Honor Donor Communications Preferences in Raiser’s Edge™

donor experience Feb 10, 2023
donor communications

When a donor takes the time to tell you how they'd like to be addressed or how they'd prefer to receive communications from your organization, these preferences should be recorded in Raiser’s Edge™. But, it's more than just recording them, it is about honoring donor communications preferences. It's about following through on a donor's request.

By following through (the first time they ask!), you are showing that you care about the donor's request, want to honor the donor's communication preferences, and subtly showcase that your organization has good systems in place to manage donors and dollars. When you don't or can't follow through on their request, it shows that your systems are not good and that you might have some database issues.

Most donors get in touch for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They would like to receive communications through a specific channel ("Please only send email.")
  • They prefer to receive only certain types of communications ("please only send the newsletter.")
  • Donors only want to receive a certain number of communications ("I'd like to receive one solicitation annually.")

There are probably others but the point here is that every donor is unique and we should strive to honor the unique preferences of each one.

Standards for Capturing Donor Communications Preferences in Raiser’s Edge™

If you're familiar with this blog or my YouTube channel, you know that I love standards. Standards are an easy way to document how to handle situations in your fundraising database. Here are a few standards to get you started on documenting how you will capture donor communications preferences:

  1. All communications preferences will be initiated by the donor and not {Organization}. Staff will not make these choices on the constituent’s behalf.
  2. A note will be added to the database detailing any change in a donor’s preference(s). If the communication with the donor is in writing, the exchange will be pasted into the note (or an uploaded scan).
  3. When a constituent requests no mail, no email, and/or no solicitations, the preference(s) will be marked on the constituent’s record, in addition to assigning the corresponding communications code(s).
  4. When a constituent requests no solicitations and/or zero contact, an email will be sent to the Chief Development Officer and the constituent’s relationship manager (if the donor has one) before the change is made in the database. This email will include:
    • The constituent’s name
    • Their reason for requesting no solicitations and/or zero contact
    • The date they reached out to inform {Organization} of their preference(s)
  5. The Development team will review all constituents with communications codes assigned twice per year to prevent competitive, contradictory, and/or inaccurate codes.

Now that we've discussed how to capture donor communications preferences, let's dig into how to code for those preferences and communicate internally.

Codes, Definitions, and Internal Communications

Below are some of my favorite codes to use when donors get in touch with specific requests around how they'd like to receive communications, through which channel, and how often we should be in touch. You'll see in the grid that you have the name of the code, then the definition of that code, and who should be informed when a donor gets that code on their record.

For example, if a donor calls and requests zero contact, that phone call should trigger several things. First, the donor's record in the database should receive the code (or several codes based on your coding architecture). Secondly, the solicitor (if the donor is assigned) and chief development officer should be immediately notified. This allows the fundraiser and the chief development officer to strategize on what any next steps might need to be. I hope this grid gets you on the right track for recording and honor donor communications preferences.  

Once you have figured out how your organization will manage donor communication preferences, it is important to put together a policy and procedure around it. That way, everyone knows how to handle donors' requests quickly and efficiently as soon as it's made. 



About Mary Hackett

Mary Hackett is a vibrant and engaging powerhouse in the world of major gift expertise, with a sparkling career steeped in the intricacies of fundraising operations. Residing in the picturesque town of Bend, Oregon, Mary's professional journey is as lively and inspiring as her scenic surroundings. Her extensive experience in fundraising is marked by a unique blend of strategic insight and a contagious enthusiasm that has consistently propelled organizations to new heights of success. With a knack for connecting with people and a deep understanding of the nuances of philanthropy, Mary has become a sought-after expert in her field. Her approach to fundraising is not just about meeting targets; it's about building relationships, weaving stories, and creating impactful experiences that resonate with donors and communities alike. In Mary's world, every fundraising campaign is an adventure, filled with opportunities to make a meaningful difference while having a whole lot of fun along the way. Want to work with Mary? 

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