5 Delightful Ways to Connect with Your Donors

August 21, 2018
4 minutes

We all want to be our donors' favorite nonprofit. The good news is that sealing the deal on BFF status with your donors may not be as tricky as you think. Discover five delightful ways to become your donor's BFF that you're probably not doing. (Hint: being BFFs with your donor is a lot like being BFFs in real life.)

Try a personal touch

The nonprofit sector is still a world where formal letterhead rules. But think about it... when was the last time your BFF sent you a letter on letterhead? Probably never. It’s time to use new mediums to say Hi or Thank You, and personal video is a great place to start. You might remember when Charity: water did this back in 2011. A simple tool you can use to create and send personal videos is Bombbomb.

Another way to let your donor know you're paying attention is to keep track of their significant milestones like birthdays or giving anniversaries with Funraise's robust donor CRM. Then, use our automated email tool to send them a beautifully designed note. Remembering these milestones is like a wink and a smile that says “Yep, I see you. I remember.”

If you still want to send your donor something in the mail, make it delightful to receive. Choose a thank you card with a witty message, have staff sign it, and decorate the envelope. Make it even more special by including a surprise inside the envelope (haaay, 1" confetti!)

Use data to add meaningful value

What’s the secret sauce to becoming BFFs? Sharing lifehacks and life updates.

Your organization is an expert in the work you do. Can you share that expertise in a valuable and digestible way? Absolutely! First, utilize donation analytics data to segment donors and discover what matters most to them. Then create relevant and meaningful content specifically for them. For example, an animal shelter might send donors some special tips for keeping pets safe around 4th of July. Or, an environmental organization might send donors information on environmentally-friendly personal care items.

This is a hand-painted image of a present bursting open an a heart coming out. Art by Sophie Cunningham

The spotlight effect: Let them shine

If Instagram had been around during Sex and the City’s heyday, Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda would have been taking photos and tagging each other during brunch and shopping sprees. It feels good to get a social media shout out, and this is something your organization can do for donors. On your online giving form, add an optional field for donors’ social media handles and ask if they’d like to be recognized on social media.

Even better, take the time to ask donors about why they give to the charities they support (yourself included). We guarantee you'll hear stories you never expected. You might even find some gems that'll make all the difference with your social media followers.

Let your donors in on the #fail

One of the best parts of having BFFs is that they're there for you no matter what. When you're having a bad day, going through a breakup, or just need a hug, you know you can call or text them. Allow yourself to practice this kind of transparency and authenticity with donors. Your work isn't always rainbows and sunshine, and if you choose the right time and place, you can share your blunders and potential failures, impressing donors with your realness.

Host mission-driven events donors actually want to attend

Nonprofit events have an undeserved rep for being boring cash asks. If your organization wants to host an event for donors, think about making it a mission-driven event your donors will love. For example, a transition house for women escaping domestic violence could host a holiday event where donors and their families build gingerbread houses together and learn more about the housing they fund. Funraise makes the party planning simple with our Events & Ticketing feature.

Bottom line? Staying BFFs with your donors is about the little things you do to build long-lasting relationships with them, like remembering their giving milestones or asking about their recent vacation. Treating your donors the way you treat your nearest and dearest will cultivate meaningful relationships centered around a cause you both care about, with some winks, smiles, and delightful surprises along the way.

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