PRS picHave you ever asked yourself, “Is my caging provider acting as a true partner in our overall mission?”

Many caging providers do a responsible job of handling donations. They are invariably good vendors. But having spent many years focused on caging, I can tell you that some caging providers are true partners. These caging specialists act as your eyes and ears in understanding how donors react to specific appeals and, more importantly, translate donor comments into data that can be used in the thank you letter and your next solicitation.

If you are considering a new caging provider, insist that the organization…

1. Has the technology and expertise to collect data at point of processing;

2. Provides real-time visibility to requests, likes, and dislikes to grow and sustain your donor base;

3. Works in unison with you to cultivate donors;

4. Reinforces and supports engagement between your organization and your donors.

Once you have selected the right caging partner, hold them accountable for listening and responding with respect, urgency, and attention. Your caging provider is critical, not only for applying the monetary gift to the correct appeal but also for relaying critical information to drive your results.

Banks and commercial payment processing providers often find it difficult to incorporate human intervention into their processing cycle to flag and react to handwritten comments, which have proven to drive cultivation: solicitation check-boxes, name address changes and preferences, special intentions, recurring gift requests, tributes, memorials, email and phone numbers, premium requests, likes/dislikes, donor status changes, attributes, and special handling flags. As a result, it is often a week or so before the nonprofit receives — and has the opportunity to react to — donors’ comments. Meanwhile, the thank you letter is in the mail!

Why is this an issue?

• Imagine that a donor informed you that their name was misspelled, and then their thank you letter was sent out with the same incorrect spelling.
• Imagine that a donor sent you a gift, and in turn requested a premium, yet that was not reflected in their thank you letter

When your next communication specifically addresses your donor’s request, the relationship grows.

The stats are clear: more than 7 in 10 new donors don’t donate again. Nonprofits need every advantage to succeed. Finding a caging partner is one easy step you can take to drive ever-improving results.

Liz Gerardi is Vice President of Response Systems at Innovairre Communications, which supports more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world. For more about Response Processing Services, contact us at; subscribe to our newsletter here; and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.