Building meaningful long-term relationships with key donors isn’t a want; it’s a need that’s critical to your Nonprofit’s success. But the process doesn’t need to be difficult. When approached the right way, it can actually be enjoyable for both parties and help boost your funding at the same time.
Here are four simple ways to start building relationships and grow your funding:
1. Stay in Touch
Communicate regularly, not just during fundraising campaigns. Keeping donors up to date on your organization’s projects and goals is important to keeping them interested and engaged. Let them know you need their support to complete your mission and that they are the ones that make it all possible.
Keep most communication informational and not all about the “ask” – donors want to know about your mission, and when they’re moved emotionally the donations will come naturally.
2. Use Multiple Channels to Connect
Today’s tech-savvy world offers more ways than ever for connecting with donors. From email to social media to good old fashioned snail mail, keep your positive messages flowing.
Keep in mind which donor groups use which mediums and target your communications appropriately. Young professionals might love to connect via Facebook and LinkedIn while older generations may still prefer snail mail and a phone call.
3. Listen and Ask
Effective communication is a two-way street, so its important to listen to donors. Social media offers a wonderful platform for asking questions, receiving feedback and even starting a discussion. What about your charity is particularly interesting to them? How do they feel you could improve your mission?
If you’re planning an upcoming event, ask them what kind of items they would like to bid on. Remember, 88% of people’s bucket lists include visiting a destination* – ask about donor’s dreams and travel plans, then include exciting experiences at your next auction. You’ll generate a whole lot of buzz as well as bidding.
4. Say Thank You
Giving recognition to generous donors is one of the most important things you can do to build a long-lasting relationship. Make it a practice to take anyone who donates $500 or more out to lunch.
Tweet or post on Facebook about how you appreciate their generosity, and tag or "@" them if you can. Send a hand-written letter with sincere gratitude. Certificates and plaques can be a good way to recognize large donors as well, and make a great addition to a home or professional office.
Finally, make sure every donor’s name is included in the annual report that is sent out – and make sure it’s spelled correctly. Trust us, they’ll look!
*The Life Twist Study (Page 12), an independent report commissioned by American Express
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About Ian Lauth
Ian Lauth has been working to help Nonprofits maximize their fundraising revenue since early 2012 when he was hired by Winspire to develop external communications, brand expansion and product delivery processes. You can also find Ian on Google+.