The Name Game: How Getting Your Donor’s Name Right Can Make All the Difference

Picture this: You're at a gathering when someone approaches you and says, "Hi, James!" The trouble is, your name isn’t James. Awkward, right? And just like that, the conversation takes a nosedive.
A photo of a yellow rose

Getting someone’s name wrong can be a conversation killer. And in the world of nonprofits, where relationships are key, it can be a donation killer. Today, we’re exploring the importance of getting your donors’ names right – every time, in every interaction.

What’s In a Name? Quite a Lot, Actually!

A person’s name is a vital part of their identity. As the famous quote from “Romeo and Juliet” goes, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – but would it feel the same if we started calling it a tulip? Probably not. Just as with roses and tulips, there is power in names. They bind us to our identity and our heritage, and they tell a unique story.

When it comes to donor relations, respecting this identity is crucial. Here’s why:

  1. First Impressions Count: A misnamed letter or email can turn off potential donors. It gives the impression that your organization is careless or impersonal.
  2. Building Trust: Getting your donor’s name right helps build trust. It shows that you value your relationship with them and have taken the time to know them.
  3. Personalization is Powerful: Personalized communication, starting with your donor’s name, has been proven to increase engagement and giving.

How to Ensure You Get it Right

Convinced of the power of a name? Great! Here’s how to make sure you’re getting it right:

  1. Quality Data: Ensure the data you collect is accurate. Train your team on the importance of data hygiene. Regularly update, clean, and verify your donor database.
  2. Pay Attention to Preferences: If a donor prefers to be called by their first name, nickname, or title, note it down and use it consistently.
  3. Triple Check: Before any communication goes out, check, check, and check again.

Remember, getting your donor’s name right is just the beginning. It’s an essential part of a larger commitment to valuing your donors as unique individuals with their own stories, passions, and reasons for supporting your cause.So, here’s to powering up personalization and to remember the significance of a name! Happy fundraising, changemakers!

In Conclusion: Names Matter!

I don’t know why, but for some reason this song is stuck in my head now…

About the author

Lesley Cole

Campaign quarterback, thought leader, and former band geek.