How are you caring for your most loyal donors?
I did a presentation a couple of weeks ago for Pamela Grow’s Motivate Monday series. We had a good time talking about ways to show some #donorlove.
I wanted to share the ideas with you. Because they’re easy, inexpensive and great for building donor relationships.
But first a word about those relationships
We know retention is important. And that too many organizations have lousy retention rates.
We also know that first-time donors usually don’t return.
So it makes sense to work hard to keep the donors you have, right?
But it’s easy to miss those donors who give smaller amounts but stick with you year after year.
They really matter, though. And it’s wise to pay attention.
So here are a few ways you can love those loyal donors.
1. Send a thank you “just because”
This isn’t a gift acknowledgment. This is a thank you letter to note the donor’s long-standing commitment and generosity.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. It does need to feel personal.
When I did this, donors responded with surprise and happiness. They felt noticed.
Hearing back from them generated two-way warm fuzzies.
2. Invite them over
Have a small event just for this group of loyal donors.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money. Cut up some cheese, get some wine. You can even use the office.
But do it, because this is an all-around win:
- Donors feel acknowledged.
- Donors meet other donors, strengthening the community of people who care about your mission.
- You get to meet your donors face to face.
If you can, give them a small parting gift. A book or a bookmark. Some notecards. A refrigerator magnet.
Just a token in tune with your mission and the evening.
They’ll love it. And love you for it.
3. Reach out and touch someone
Again, I’m not talking about solicitations here.
You could make a point of calling some donors who have been giving a long time each week.
Or… this is an especially great activity to get your board involved in fundraising.
Have a “Thankathon”.
The first time you do this, everyone on both sides of the phone will be cautious.
But when the donor realizes this isn’t about money, she’ll relax, feel flattered and happy to talk about why she gives. (Take notes!)
And the callers will leave on a happy high. Because talking to the donors who love you so much reignites their own passion.
4. Show your love publicly
If you don’t already have a group just for loyal donors, create one today.
It’s as easy as brainstorming a name and running a list. Boom! You’ve got a group.
Then recognize them publicly: your annual report, event programs, a newsletter.
Keep this up for several years, and you’ll find your loyal donors notice and identify as one of this group.
They might call you if you forget to note their membership.
And they’ll probably think twice about missing a year of giving! (But give them a little latitude here. Everyone misses sometimes.)
They love you so much, you just need to love them back a little.
These donors are the best. You’ll find them a wealth of history and stories about your organization.
And even if they don’t have means, they know people. And they talk.
So this isn’t only an exercise in revenue development. Paying attention to these wonderful donors is smart in so many ways!