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© 2019 by Blue Sky Philanthropy

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© 2019 by Blue Sky Philanthropy

5 powerful ways to show donors you care

August 15, 2018

It’s no secret.

 

If you can improve your donor care, and do a better job of meaningfully thanking, engaging and reporting back to your donors, you can move the needle on donor retention, and significantly increase your fundraising revenue.

 

How much, you ask?

 

Well, according to Dr. Adrian Sargent, a 10% increase in donor retention can increase the value of your donor database up to 200%.

 

Putting time and energy into donor care is an investment that will yield significant returns – but perhaps more importantly, taking great care of the generous folks who give to your cause is simply the right thing to do!

 

Here are five of my favourite ways you can go above and beyond to stand out from the crowd, and show donors how much you care.

 

1. Invite them into your inner circle

 

Inviting donors to come behind the scenes at your organization is a great opportunity to bond, and directly share the incredible impact of their support.

 

What are some of the ways you can draw donors closer by giving them exclusive access to information, events, leaders and influential figures connected to your cause?  

 

Open Houses, program tours and talks can be fantastic ways to get face to face with supporters – but don’t forget the power of technology when it comes to making meaningful connections with your donors.

 

I’m a huge fan of Zoom, which allows me to work effectively with clients and colleagues around the world. There are so many simple, affordable tools available these days – and they can be used effectively by organizations of all sizes.

 

Do you have great news to share, an exciting new idea you need feedback on, or an engaging speaker ready to tell a compelling story? Why not test out video meetings or webinars to see how they work for your organization - they could be another great tool to help you strengthen your connection with donors.

 

2. Celebrate their milestones

 

It’s important to take the time to celebrate milestones in our lives - both big and small.

 

There are many ways to mark meaningful milestones for your donors, whether it’s best wishes for a cultural celebration, or a note on the anniversary of their first donation.

 

Five or ten years of giving is so rare and precious these days, isn’t that worth celebrating?

 

What a great opportunity for an impromptu thank you call – you could even pull lists of all your 5+ year donors, and have your board members call them to thank them for their long-time commitment.

 

3. Understand what motivates their giving

 

If you want to really show your donors you care, take the time to understand why they give.

 

Asking the right question at the right time can help us better understand a donor’s philanthropic priorities, personal passions, and dreams for changing the world.

 

If you find yourself stumped for compelling questions to ask, I think you’ll be inspired by The Osborne Group’s Strategic Questions document – seven jam packed pages of sample questions to weave into purposeful conversations with your donors.

 

You can find the link for this and more in Five of my favourite free fundraising resources (and thank you for making this one of my most read and shared articles of 2018!).

 

4. Look for spontaneous opportunities to connect

 

What’s more fun than finding a spontaneous opportunity to connect with a donor?

 

Having a well thought out schedule of regular touchpoints is an important part of any donor care plan – but so is being spontaneously inspired to get in touch.

 

A major donor I once worked with had a deep and abiding love of all things Star Trek – and while we never did agree on our favourite captain (Jean-Luc Picard 4ever!), we’d often send news and little tidbits back and forth when we came across something interesting in our travels.

 

This can be even more powerful if it also connects to your organization’s mission – have you read an interesting article, or come across some important new research connected to an area of your work your donor is passionate about?

 

What a great chance to drop your donor line or give them a call to say “I’m thinking of you”.

 

5. Share an inspiring story

 

Great storytelling has the power to deeply connect with and motivate your donors.

 

But all stories are not created equal – where a well-structured story can create feelings of empathy, caring and generosity, an ineffective story can simply fall flat.

 

Great stories aren’t just for newsletters and appeals - you can incorporate stories into all of your interactions with donors.

 

Try to naturally weave effectively structured stories into your conversations with donors. It takes a bit of practice and preparation, but done well, it can be an evocative way to connect your supporters with the impact of their giving.

 

I hope you find these five ideas helpful additions to your donor care toolbox. Do you have any creative ways you like to show donors you care? Share your ideas with readers by leaving a comment below – and keep up the amazing work, my friend!   

Emma Lewzey, CFRE is an award-winning fundraiser who has been helping great causes like yours build and grow successful fundraising programs since 1995. She’s the President-Elect of the world’s largest Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Chapter in Toronto, and the National Chair of AFP’s Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy. Contact Emma to book your free discovery session, and find out how you can work together to strategically focus your precious resources on the fundraising initiatives that truly work.

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