Donors are a BIG part of nonprofit success - we don’t have to tell you that. But what can be a challenge is not only getting donors, but keeping them; getting them to donate time and time again.
So what’s the trick? How can you delight your donors so they’ll stay with your organization for the long-haul? Here are a few tips:
1. Have the President/CEO/Executive Director reach out
It’s nice when anyone reaches out (by mail, but especially by phone). That said, it’s even nicer when the head honcho (the President, CEO, Executive Director, etc.) does so. This makes people feel important and like their actions really matter (which we all know, they do!).
That said, if you can have the highest person up within your organization reach out to your donors and thank them individually, that’ll speak volumes. (Plus, this is a very cost-effective tactic - it’s FREE - so it’s at least worth trying.)
2. Let them know how their contributions have impacted the bottom line
Too often, companies and organizations simply say “thank you” to donors and move on. They may say what the contributions are being used for, but aside from that, the outcomes are usually left in a black hole.
Take that communication further with your donors. Let them know how their contributions have impacted the bottom line. Did a particular donation help advance legislation? Did it help raise awareness of your industry, particularly to recruit the next generation of workers? Let those outcomes be known!
Note: If you can do this in a creative or visual manner, that’s even better. For example, if a donation went towards advocacy, could you send a picture of your team ACTUALLY advocating (at City Hall, for example) with a handwritten thank you card? Seeing the money in action helps people grasp the impact of their contribution(s).
3. Reach out to them when it’s unexpected
Donors expect to be thanked right off the bat. But after that, there’s almost an underlying expectation to be fizzled out. Donors don’t really expect to hear from companies/organizations UNLESS it’s related to major company updates or the need for more money.
Use that expectation to your organization’s advantage! Reach out to your donors on a whim (without being pesky, of course). Wish them a happy birthday or a happy first day of summer! The more you keep those lines of communication open, the more receptive they’ll be when the conversation turns more serious (back to money, for example).
4. Get to know them, then make it personal
This is what’s really going to help you delight your donors: If you can make each touchpoint (even if it’s just one) personal.
For example, let’s say you overhear one of your donors talking about how he likes to golf on the weekends. Well you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy him a set of golf clubs, but what if you could get him a nice golf accessory and send him a note saying, “John, you are tee-rific! Thanks for everything you’ve done for our organization!”
The fact that you went out of your way to personalize that message (and gift) will mean a lot to your donor, and they’ll be more inclined to want to work with your association in the future (because they have more of a relationship with you).
Want more tips for raising money for your association? Check out our free guide to non-dues revenue below!