Interesting piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Prospecting Blog on Smile Train and their new donor approach—make a gift and the charity won’t ask for another gift ever again.
I think it’s a great example of stewardship, ensuring that the donor-charity relationship gets off on the best foot possible. And with more charities ramping up their fundraising efforts, this method is sensitive to increasing donor concerns about too many solicitations.
Some will argue that this sort of approach hamstrings the charity right from the start. The whole aim of fundraising is donor cultivation, and not allowing any more solicitations prohibits potentially a lifetime of giving.
But I believe many donors will respond favorably to Smile Train’s idea and appreciate their sentiment while allowing the organization to continue to solicit them. I think the positive responses will outweigh the donors who decide not to be solicited ever again.
What I am worried about is how they are implementing this approach. It’s not quite as simple as “give and we’ll never solicit you again.” The donor has to make the conscious decision to mail in the reply slip asking the charity to not solicit him or her again. This may set up different expectations between the charity and the donor, which could lead to problems.
But overall, I think it’s a very engaging idea and I wonder if other charities will use it as well. What do you think about this approach?