Thursday, October 15, 2015

Donor Relations: Where Do I Start?

You've found this website and blog and you may be overwhelmed by the amount of information within. Don't worry, we're here to help. Most donor retention can be traced to one thing, donor relations. There are four pillars of donor relations, as seen in the diagram below, where do you start?

You start with thanking your donors and telling them the impact of their support.
That means you start with the first two pillars, stewardship and acknowledgment of the gift. because you see, it doesn't matter how wonderful your events are, how dynamic your recognition is, and how special you make a donor feel. First you must thank them. Need a resource on how to do that? Well the 2015 Acknowledgment swap is ready for your viewing pleasure! You can find all 4 of them including thousands of letters here:!acknowledgement-swap/c1ve 

I hope you take some of the text and make it your own, copy the content and add your flourish. Tell your story in the letter and make the donor feel the gratitude from within. Also, remember the way a donor gives their gift is directly correlative to their communication preference. So think twice about sending a letter on 81/2 by 11 paper to a donor who gave you $100 online. Are you listening? Send them an email, a video, a postcard, but don't always send them a letter in the mail.

Once you thank them you have to show them the impact of their support. Tangible, real results of their generosity. Donors give to see change, what are the changes in your organization as a result of private support? Have you demonstrated this clearly? Can I trace my donation through your organization and sense the tangible outcome? I should be able to, regardless of the amount of the gift.

I hope this gives you a starting place, a launching pad for your donor relations direction as you venture to retain more of your donors.

As always feel free to comment below.

Update: If you want to dive deeper into the 4 Pillars of Donor Relations, you can order my book and/or join me at the 4 Pillars Conference in Dallas on November 30, 2017!

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