It will make most fundraisers out there recoil in horror. Brace yourselves.
Simon has been sent a fundraising direct mail piece. It has dropped through his letterbox onto the mat. And what's that? In nice bold type on the envelope. His DONOR ID.
Now, all of us who work for charities know that when you have a database, each donor is given a unique number. It means we assign gifts to the right person, and have up to date details on our supporters.
But what does this say to our donor?
Hello Simon. At our charity, we don't call you Simon. No, we call you ID number 1651537.
Good donor communications are personal. They make your supporter feel that if they donate they can make a difference, that you value them and their contribution. As Simon says, you want to make your donor feel really special.
An ID number is not personal. It doesn't make them think that they are unique or valued. It makes them think that they are a number on your system, not a crucial supporter of your cause, without whom you couldn't do the great work you're doing.
So if you're printing the Donor ID on the envelope, stop now. If you're printing it on the letter, stop that too. Hide it away on the donation form, so you can process their gift easily, without using the heading donor ID.
If you've got a good reason to print it on the envelope (process returns quickly/organisation's policy) it's not a good enough reason for the damage you're doing to your ability to raise money.
As Simon says, 'There's no need to print the donor ID.' It's bad fundraising and blooming bad manners.
Stop it, please.