A friend of mine purchased a car last year. She did her research, found the car she wanted, negotiated the price with the dealer and drove it off the lot. When she paid for it, she signed the check. She added her husband to the title, but she was listed first. A few months later her husband receives a birthday card from the dealership. What?! Her birthday was weeks before his but she didn’t receive any card. This, rightfully, annoyed my friend and she posted on the dealership's Facebook page to express her concerns. The dealership tried to make it up to her with an apologetic card and some cookies, but as my Mom has always told me, you never get a second chance to make a first impression [She also says everything looks better with lipstick. After having our 3 year old “paint” our master bedroom with lipstick, I can say that bright red lipstick does not make white blinds look any better.].
In many ways, I am an old fashioned kind of gal. I was proud to take my husband’s name when we married. We are a modern couple and we make decisions together, but when it comes to charitable giving, I am typically the one making the donations because of my exposure to nonprofit organizations on a day-to-day basis. If a nonprofit organization that I had made a donation to were to send an email or direct mail to my husband and not include me, I would be less inclined to give again not only because of principle but because I would not feel that they were taking the time to know me or develop a relationship with me as a donor.
This is Why Householding is So Important!
I've reviewed a lot of donor database products on the market and I can say that not every tool allows you to Household in this way. This is just another reason why I love the Salesforce platform and I love the Non Profit Success Pack (NPSP). A great feature is that Salesforce allows donations to be tracked both by individuals and by households so you can see which contacts within the household are more engaged. Although greetings and salutations are automatically generated based on organization defaults, these can be managed on a one-off basis for households as needed. As a best practice, in each of our deployments, we spend time discussing the Salesforce Account model and why it is important. We also take the time to split contacts from legacy systems that were stored as one record into two contact records (e.g. “James and Mary Smith”).
With KELL360, one of the great features we have added to households is the ability to have soft credits from Contacts roll up to the Account level. This is a little tricky to explain, so bear with me. If I give through a family foundation or United Way, this giving is represented not only on my Contact record, which is what the Nonprofit Starter Pack does, but also on the household Account record. This allows for true representations of household giving at the Account level, which is crucial to major donor and direct mail reporting.
When it Comes to Your Donors, Don’t Miss Your Chance to Create Your First Impression
If you haven’t thought about how you household your donors and how you recognize them, I encourage you to do so. The more personal and connected you can make your communication the better, so don’t be afraid to put a little lipstick on it.