Help your supporters to help you

If there’s a piece of information that you need from people contacting you, tell them on your ‘Contact us’ page.

As a supporter of international development charity ActionAid, I’ve been receiving communications by post. I’d like to change my details and also get all materials by email instead, so I went to the charity’s UK website to get in touch.

On the ‘Contact us’ page, there’s an easy-to-find email address for supporters, next to a postal address and a description of what type of enquiries it’s for. Within a few seconds of sending my email, I get a confirmation reply in my inbox.

Screengrab of ActionAid UK's 'Contact us' page

Can’t fault the process, but one thing could be changed to help supporters getting in touch and also the team at ActionAid. In the confirmation email, there’s a request:

To help us research your query, could you make sure you included all the details we need to find your records? If you’re an existing supporter that’s:

* your supporter reference number (the 7 digit number that appears on most of our communications to you)

OR

*your address, including your post code

It would be sensible to put this short request on the ‘Contact us’ page, so that supporters can include this information in their initial email. Asking me to include something in response to an email in which it should have been included seems a bit, well, back to front.

This could potentially avoid:

  • supporters having to send a second email and the ActionAid team’s inbox being larger than it needs to be
  • having to link two separate emails from supporters (firstly the enquiry and secondly their details)
  • having to email supporters back to request their details.

I have no idea how much time the team spends on supporters’ enquiries (I’m guessing a lot), but this simple change could make a difference.

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