Loyalty driver 1: Personal connection (pt 2)

In the first part of this blog I wrote about how important increasing a donor’s loyalty is – the way they feel about your charity. This is the ultimate goal in relationship fundraising and to do it we need to know what drives loyalty. As a starting point I wrote about how important personal connection is to that.

That’s all well and good if you’re a university, a health related charity or a local cause. But what, I have been asked, can you do if you’re not one of these? Is it still relevant?


Because your job is to create a connection between the donor and your cause or, better still, your organisation – an emotional link to give them a reason to believe that your charity is important to them personally.

Of course, you can’t just create a new cause, but can you present your work differently?

Can you make your appeal local?
Macmillan London appealRecently I received two appeals from national charities. Macmillan Cancer Support asked me to support their services in London. Now I don’t live in London, so I have to question their targeting, but if I did then they would have an appeal that is relevant for my family and my community – the people that I love.

Woodland Trust making it local to meAt a similar time the Woodland Trust proved they have better targeting by asking me to support the creation of a new Centenary Wood (to commemorate the centenary of the start of World War 1) just up the road from me. I enjoy walking outdoors, love woodland and (although they didn’t know this) earlier this year I visited the WW1 battle fields in The Somme and Ypres. For a national charity, I now have a local connection. And when I’ve visited the Centenary Wood (as I certainly will) I will have a personal experience.

Can you create a connection between the donor and the beneficiary?
I’ve talked before about the Baby Boxes for Bosnia campaign I ran for Feed the Children in the 1990’s. Besides being a brilliant ask, we gave people the chance to write a message of support – messages that we read.

Some of the most touching were from mums, writing to other mums that they’ll never meet or know. “I don’t know what it’s like to live in a war zone, but I do know what it’s like to have a young baby” started one mum on her message. This wasn’t just an international aid charity helping people in a far away country, she felt a personal connection to the mum receiving the box.

Be creative
Not everyone has the direct experience of ill-health, abuse or poverty (or whatever your cause is), but I’ve been involved in successful appeals asking farmers and teachers in the UK to give to farmers and teachers in Africa and medical professionals to provide medical kits for flying doctors.

Or maybe you need to create a product that links something we all do every day to your cause. I love the fact that I can twin my toilet with one in Burundi or Bangladesh.

It’s up to you. Don’t just give up and say my cause isn’t relevant. Think about your donors, your cause and your beneficiaries. Find what they have in common and get creative.

Your donors’ loyalty depends on it!