From an NFP perspective, dating your donors might seem like an odd thing to do, so let me clarify a little. Donor retention is probably quite an important priority to your non-profit, and sometimes you have to go over and above the standard email or telephone call to make it happen. This is where the “dating” comes in.
Individuals who donate money do so because they are passionate about a particular subject or cause. And to become passionate, they must have a good understanding of what your charity does and what it stands for. But that will not happen overnight. Nor will it happen through a couple of social media posts and an email. If you want to make a real difference to your profit margin, then quality, long lasting relationships are important.
One common and rather unacceptable act that many NFPs are guilty of is to practically cut off all contact with donors after they have received the funding that was promised. Then the next time the non-profit needs money, they call on them again. This sounds very much like a one-sided relationship and one which will not win you many favours with your pool of donors.
Donors need to feel that their efforts matter and that can only be achieved through regular communication and updates. In most circumstances, they have no idea where their money has gone and what it helped achieve. That is not particularly a winning recipe for sustained funding.
So, what can you do differently?
Be open and honest at all times
Creating a safe and friendly environment for your donors is imperative. They want to know all about your NFP – they are hungry for knowledge. Let them know your strategies and goals even if they aren’t related to your fundraising at present. On the same token, they want to feel respected and know that the information which is being shared is honest. If they offer up a small donation, then be just as gracious as if they gave you a huge payment. Your positive actions towards them will make certain that the relationship is strengthened given time.
Share your donors acts of generosity
Let the world know which donors you are dating. List them on your website as case studies and demonstrate exactly how their contribution made a difference. This act will show them just how much you appreciate their donation and will show others what a difference they can make too. Most businesses or individuals are looking for a quality charity to support – you just need to show them that yours is worthy of their time and money.
Keep them updated
While it doesn’t have to be overly personalised, letting them know exactly what was spent and achieved in the last fundraising round is important. Email or web content can be created fairly cheaply these days. Make it a colourful and eye-catching visual delight documenting all that has been achieved to date. Even if they don’t have time to read it all, they will appreciate the update. Share your success to others on a wider basis to attract more donors to your next project. Be consistent and offer updates until the project has come to completion.
Everyone wants to be made feel special, even your donors. They need to know it is a partnership made of respect and trust. No one wants to feel like they are only needed for their money so take the time to develop the relationships through phone calls and emails and keep them up to date at all times. And don’t forget to say thank you at every opportunity. Like any relationship, the little things can make a huge difference.