Donor List Kiss of Death: Mr. and Mrs.
If you have taken my “new and improved” annual reports webinar, you know that I am not a fan of those long lists of donor names. I think they take way too much time and effort to get right, and do not produce the value that nonprofits think they do. You have many more opportunities to spell someone’s name wrong or otherwise screw it up than you do opportunities to get current donors even more excited about your cause because they see their names in 8-point type next to some other person’s name they admire.
Case in point: A nonprofit that my husband and I both love — and therefore will not be named in this post — totally screwed up their recent annual report donor list, in at least three ways I saw, and odds are, many more.
By insisting on using the too-formal and very outdated Mr. and Mrs. listing, because it supposedly confers more respect on donors, they have instead done two downright awful things:
1. Wrongly guessed the gender of some of their most loyal supporters
2. Alienated couples who consider themselves a marriage of equals.
How respectful is that?
Can we please move on from the 1950s?
What makes this all even more laughable is that at the top of the list it says that “every effort has been made to ensure these names are correct.” You betcha.
Don’t do a donor list unless you are going to get it 100% right. Otherwise, you are actually doing great harm to your cause by including the list.