Last week, I told you how The Nation lost me as a monthly donor: they sent me repeated emails addressed to the wrong name. Sadly, they have not even noticed my post, even though I emailed and tweeted them directly. (Maybe I should have called them In These Times?)
Let me tell you another sad story about an organization that lost me as a donor. You can learn what not to do from the example.
Do you remember the earthquake in Haiti four years ago? Too few people do. But here in Somerville, Massachusetts, many of my neighbors were born in Haiti.
My wife Rona and I paid a lot of attention to events on the island. We realized that Haiti would need help for years: not only disaster relief, but reconstruction and development.
We chose to give a significant amount–significant for us, at least–to Haiti annually through the American Jewish World Service. It’s a well-run organization, and giving though AJWS would let people in Haiti know that Jews as well as Christians cared about them.
AJWS acknowledged our gift and thanked us for it. They did it again the next year. Then, they started soliciting us to give to causes all over the world–at the same high level that we had committed to Haiti.
Clearly, they did not know what mattered to us. Did they even care? Or did they think they knew better where our limited resources should go?
Rona and I will be giving to Haiti again this year, but maybe through ESPWA. Perhaps through Partners in Health. Probably not through AJWS. And it’s a pity. We were proud to donate through them until they gave us the message we were not doing enough.
What message are you sending your donors?