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Communicating with your supporters – The Leprosy Mission England & Wales

The Leprosy Mission England and Wales places huge importance on keeping supporters at the forefront of thinking when planning and making decisions.

But what does that mean in practice? And what simple steps can your charity do to start improving the supporter journey and raising supporter loyalty?

We were delighted to welcome Sarah Haine, Supporter Experience Adviser, and Stuart Towell, Campaign and Insight Manager, to discuss this very subject at this year’s Loyalty Day.

At The Leprosy Mission England and Wales, supporters are considered as being part of a big family. As such, the team keeps asking the following questions:

  • What would delight our supporters?

  • What would put off our supporters?

Of course, different supporters will have different motivations and therefore charity communications – and not just fundraising asks – must be agile and flexible.

But ensuring you are always thinking about what supporters might think is a great way to start improving their experience and enhancing their loyalty. Sarah explained,

“I would sit in meetings and discussions asking myself ‘what would the supporter think about this? How would any decisions or changes impact on the experience of a supporter?

“It’s like having an empty chair at a meeting and that empty chair represents the supporter. What would they say if they were in these meetings?”

One way of improving the supporter journey came through reviewing and actually reducing the amount of content being sent to supporters. The team took the brave step of changing the amount of charity magazines they produced per year – from four down to three – while also, over time, updating the design and language of the publication.

“I never forget one supporter who told us that when they got our charity magazine, they already knew what we were going to say,” shared Stuart, “They just turned to the back page and decided whether they wanted to donate. We were not connecting on a level that impacted people.”

As a result, the charity’s new publication struck a balance between engaging new, younger, supporters without alienating their current, well-established supporters.

The end result was hugely positive with an 84% increase in performance growth despite reducing the amount of magazines produced and the associated cost.

Ask yourself how are you speaking to your supporters? Are you connecting with their values?

Are you speaking to your supporters as a person or are you speaking to them as a cash machine?

Are we thanking them for their act of giving or are we thanking them for their love and kindness that prompted them to give?

Starting to look at supporter loyalty and experience doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Ask your supporters and make space to hear what they are saying to you.

Use that time to test what you know, what you think you know and what you don’t know. And ignore feedback at your peril!

View Sarah and Stuart’s full insight talk on how they have evolved their supporter journey – and achieved outstanding results – via YouTube.


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