Last week, I wrote about seeking feedback from your donors. One thing you might really want to learn is what you can do for your donors.
Fundraisers must think about money. Your organization needs it, and you are likely being evaluated on how much you can raise.
But if you put your donor hat on, you know how disappointing it is to be treated like nothing more than an ATM.
Now, I suspect most donors have low expectations. Get my name right, maybe. Remember I just gave 2 weeks ago. Thank me?
But what if your organization was the one that stood out – because you showed your care for your donors? Imagine the loyalty that could build!
I’m not suggesting you start writing checks to your donors. But there are so many ways we can let donors know they matter.
Information they can use
Does your organization have information that might be helpful? Is it sitting several menu levels down on your website? Perhaps you can offer it to donors.
Are you an advocacy group? Maybe you can share research or poll information with donors first.
An environmental or animal rights organization? You could share up-to-the-moment images or news.
Personalization is now expected. You’ll stand out (in a bad way) if you don’t have at least the basics. Get names right. Get salutations right. Keep your address information up to date.
But what if you do more? What if you ask about, then respond to, information about their interests? Last week, I mentioned donor surveys. What can you learn about donors, individually, that you can use to show them you see them?
It could even be something as simple as knowing how long they’ve been giving. I know… you may have switched donor management systems and that information is lost. But you could fess up and use that situation to ask donors!
Show them they matter by remarking on their years of giving. Thank them for it, include them in a loyalty group. Let them know you know they matter.
Celebrations and sadness
Have you set up a Google alert for your most loyal or largest dollar donors? That might help you know when they experience a death in the family. Or when they have something to celebrate.
Yes, this is usually the territory of major gifts officers. But if your organization is smaller, you may not have one. So create a list of these especially important donors. Then get yourself some note cards. And send them a quick note when something important happens. That human touch is something a donor will remember.
A request for advice
Yes, we all know the old saw: if you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for money. But sometimes, your donors may have expertise you haven’t tapped.
Could you ask someone to speak to a group of other donors about a topic connected to your mission? Or perhaps ask someone with smarts to consider being a committee member.
I’m not suggesting you request professional assistance for free. That’s another way of asking for money. But if someone’s hobby or passion intersects with your mission, they might want to share.
We’re all so busy. And to some extent, our lives and connections happen more online than off. But you might have the chance to offer donors community. Could you start a book club? Or a support group?
Or maybe just create a series of casual get-togethers for your donors to meet one another. Each of the connections with another support they make will only strengthen their ties to your organization.
Think about donors as partners, not funding sources
If you really think of donors this way, your attitude will come through in everything you do. And this might be the most important adjustment of all.
If you really respect and care about your donors, let your communications and processes reflect that. Be thoughtful about your language, even when you don’t think anyone is listening. Work against slipping into a transactional mindset so that you treat donors like transactions.
It’s sad, but donors really don’t expect much. That’s probably because they haven’t ever gotten much. But find ways to respect your donors and show them you care. You will have more loyal donors!