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Don’t Treat Your Donors Like ATM Machines

(image credit: created by Vlad Schmeisser , included in “Tag, You’re It – Now Raise Us Some Money.”)

“Send that appeal, and they will donate.”

That’s like saying, “Build it, and they will come.”  It worked in “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner, but will it work for you?

That’s organization-centered thinking, not donor-centered thinking, and this isn’t a beautiful movie, is it?

The good fundraiser knows donor cultivation is much more than just mailing an appeal letter or e-mail and waiting for the donations to pour in.  Contacting your donors once a year by mail or email is the equivalent of treating them like ATM  machines.

Good donor cultivation means providing regular updates on the impact of their gifts, inviting them to tour your programs, making phone calls just to say “thank you,” and so much more.

Have you done any of the following lately?

  • Sent your top donors a handwritten card saying, “I hope you’re having a great summer, thinking of you!”
  • Sent an “insiders” letter explaining the work your organization did over the summer with stories of impact?
  • Asked a board member to call a couple of top donors and take them out for coffee?

So many small, simple acts can make your donors feel special and important.

The truth is, they ARE SPECIAL and IMPORTANT? Right?  Without your top donors, what would your programs look like? Think about that, then create your tailored cultivation plan for your top donors.  It’s well worth the effort!

Wishing you greater nonprofit abundance and success!

Ayda