Knowing When Personal is Too Personal
June 17, 2015
by Jade Lien
knowing-when-personal-is-too-personal

One thing you should know about us is that we’re huge proponents of personalization, which is sometimes called one-to-one (or 1:1) printing or communications. Being as we’re in the business of helping organizations fundraise more effectively, we know that personalization is a must-do. This technique allows organizations to increase the relevance of each touch by carefully modifying the messaging, image selections, and other elements based on the data of each recipient.

Though we encourage everyone to go this route in their fundraising communications, it’s important to know where to draw the line and be sure not to cross it. It’s not that hard to go from zero to creepy with a personalized campaign, especially if your approach borders on careless. Your donors will want to make sure that their information is safe, and that the organization they’re sharing it with isn’t going to misuse it. All of this works to build trust, which only exists when both parties feel it.

Here are some preliminary steps you should take before getting personal with your donors:

Include an official privacy statement on any materials used to garner information.

People are really wary of sharing certain information these days, and rightfully so. An official privacy statement can give them some peace of mind, as can an explanation of data/security procedures and a promise of confidentiality.

See also: 5 Best Practices for Success with Personalized Marketing

Never disclose anything overly personal.

You can let your donors know that you are well aware of their giving habits, frequency of donations, and even personal interests (if you’re lucky enough to get a hold of that information). But if for whatever reason you got wind of something extremely personal, just don’t use it.

See also: Are You Thinking About 1-to-1 Printing Too Narrowly?

Always give them an exit plan.

Make sure that whatever you’re using to communicate with your donors provides a clear and simple way for them to opt out if they so choose. We’re sure your storytelling skills are emotionally compelling and on point, but there’s a fine line between laying on the feels and going too far. Show them that you respect their boundaries, but also be sure to provide pathways for them to stay engaged, like through social media or by modifying their online newsletter subscription. Oh, and assure them they’ll be missed.

See also: The Money Saving Magic of Personalization

Let them know they’re not for sale.

Plain and simple: Don’t sell their information to third parties and let them know that up front. Privacy standards are constantly changing. To maintain a trusting relationship, it’s important to stay abreast of new regulations and to remind your constituents that their safety and comfort is always top of mind. Plus, good technique will yield you greater success in the long run.

Have any experience with personalization? Give us a shout on Twitter @AGNJ and let us know what worked or didn’t work for you!

Like what you see? Stay in touch!

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Like what you see? Check out these:
+ 5 Best Practices for Success with Personalized Marketing
+
Are You Thinking About 1-to-1 Printing Too Narrowly?
The Money Saving Magic of Personalization

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