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Need a cuddle?
Need a cuddle?

Aren’t there times you just need a cuddle?

Nothing sexual about it – you just need to feel affirmed, and reassured, and comforted.

A website,, offers just such a service. It describes its service as “completely platonic (non-romantic and non-sexual) – think of the nurturing and comforting relationship between a mother and her child.”

And once you get beyond the nudge-nudge-wink-wink reaction, you can see they do have a point.

We all need real cuddles, and we all need virtual ones.

In the charity fundraising world, how much do charities really look after their donors? How often do they give them a cuddle?

Sure, there’s the automated thank you to acknowledge a donation. There’s the mass email, with its heartfelt thank you to “you, our valued supporter”.

If you are that supporter, do you feel very valued?

Do you feel special? Do you feel known and understood?

If you are engaging in that sort of relationship with your donors, you are breaking the contract. This contract says: “I will give you money, and you will give me a sense that I and my donation are important and making a difference”.

Astonishingly, yet frequently, this contract-breaking, this indifference, is visited upon some charities’ biggest donors.

And it certainly happens even more frequently to donors lower down the food chain.

How does this change? Firstly, by attitude. As soon as you make the choice to regard this as unacceptable, you’ll find ways to ‘cuddle’ that are practical. And authentic.

That doesn’t mean a better mail merge.

Or at least, not just a better mail merge. It means constructing a journey for every supporter. It involves good data management, certainly. But it means much more engaging storytelling too.

How do you give people a meaningful window on to the world you are working in and that they are contributing to? How do you move beyond the generic and bland, to the specific and alive? And how do you relate that to the individual contribution your donor has made?

If you did that, do you think you’d raise more, less, or about the same?

And if your answer is “more” (and it should be), then what’s stopping you get started?

It’s time to embrace this…

Michael Isaacs

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