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Break The “Desk” Chain – 3 Steps for Major Donor Development

posted in: Donor Cultivation | 0

As we all know, fundraising is about building relationships – and relationships aren’t built by being chained to your desk. If you do nothing else, follow these three steps and add regular major donor outreach activities to your calendar. Donor relationship building and cultivation needs to be an ongoing process to keep donors involved and engaged!

1) Run a list of your top major donors list from your database. The definition of a “major donor” will vary from organization to organization. For some, it might be donors who regularly give $500 or more, for others, $1,000 and for others it could be as high as $10,000. Again, depending on your organization, this list may be 20, 50, or 100 individual, repeat and loyal donors. This report should show giving trends for each donor for the past 3 years. You can even run this for the past 5 or 10 years, again, depending upon the lifespan of your nonprofit organization. The idea is to find that “target group” of major donors that you will be making a concerted effort to reach out to on a regular basis.
2) Create a “major donor moves” plan for each donor, tailored in several ways – such as the particular programs they regularly support, whether they also volunteer with you, or their gifts come through event attendance or mailed solicitations. Think about ways to reach out to them to thank them for their involvement. Get away from your desk and set up a coffee meeting or offer to stop by there office or home for a short visit. Find reasons to make them feel like they are a part of your organization’s “family.” You should already have an in-depth knowledge of why and how they got involved with your organization in the first place. Not sure? See the next tip…
3) Find reasons to call or visit them without making an “ask.” Remember, your loyal donors shouldn’t be treated like ATM machines, where you only reach out to them when you need gifts. You want to find out more about how they got involved with you, why they continue to be involved, show them the impact of their gifts, provide them with updates on the latest ongoing program work, inform them of any new programs, and even ask for their advice about any new initiatives. Remember the old fundraising adage, “Ask for advice and you’ll get money, ask for money and you will get advice.”
I can hear some of you saying this right now now, “but I don’t like to bother my donors this way.” The last thing they will feel is “bothered,” if you get to know them and show them you value them as donors. Everyone likes to be made to feel special. By reaching out to them, you are showing them that they are highly valued people and very important to your organizations continued growth and success!
Need help crafting your “major donor moves plan?” Reach out to me, I’m here to help. Wishing you greater nonprofit abundance and success!