Little Known Ways to Woo Your Donor & Cultivate Continuous Giving

May 29, 2020
7 minutes

Think back on any friendship or relationship you’ve treasured throughout your life: most begin with a honeymoon phase. As a fundraiser, a relationship with your donor isn't all that different.

A donor's honeymoon phase begins when they first discover your organization. They feel excited and gratified to be involved in a cause that hits home for them. Those first few impact updates boasting real results from their immediate involvement? Talk about feelin’ giddy!

But just as championing a nonprofit’s mission can lead to burnout, a donor may start to feel disconnected after some time. Uh oh. The fizzle is fading! Although this is completely normal, it still means it's time to spice up the relationship so your donation doesn’t flatline.

Remind donors what excited them about your organization in the first place with these seven little known ways to woo your donors and cultivate continuous giving.

Treat Each Donor as an Individual

No two donors are the same, so why treat them as such? We know, we know. It may sound counterintuitive—and even a little wrong—to think of treating your donors differently from one other. But think about it like this: you’re not spilling your life story to Britney, your gym buddy, the same way you divulge to Sara, your sister from another mister. Donors are similar in that there'll be some who appreciate a closer relationship and others who prefer not to be bothered.

A tiered donor system allows you to interact with each donor in a respectful way that feels comfortable to them. Just like many relationships, it's okay to start slowly, getting them familiar with your organization and impact before you make a large ask. Include a small gift as your donor increases their donations. When you finally get to the the highest  level of commitment, include a free gift, recognition on your website, and access to behind-the-scenes information on your organization's ongoing progress.

Don't Miss an Anniversary

Most people love when others find a reason to celebrate them—donors are no exception. Remembering their anniversary with your organization is a thoughtful gesture that keeps your relationship strong.

Send donors an email or card acknowledging when six months, a year, or five years have gone by since their first donation. If you’re using email, automate it. Instead of acknowledging how much money your donor has given, mention how impactful their commitment is to your organization. Acknowledge their passion for the cause, their dedication to seeing the mission carried out... their patience, perseverance, and essential alliance.

Ask Your Donors Out

Like any modern relationship, eventually you have to take things “offline.” Engaging with a donor outside of emails and direct mail promotional materials is essential for growing your connection. Throw a quarterly event in a central location and invite donors who live nearby (don’t know who lives where? Use Funraise's donor CRM to keep all those details in one place). Host a happy hour and tell them to bring a friend. If a professional close to the cause is speaking publicly, be sure to advertise it to givers as an opportunity to learn more and connect. One-on-one connections are by far the most impactful and leave your donor feeling part of the team.

Find an Excuse to Say Hey

If a donor pays electronically or on an automated payment, you’ll need their new credit card information to continue processing payments. Use this built-in excuse as a gentle reminder and simple touchpoint for staying top of mind. This prompts your donor to update their financial information before the donation lapses and is a great opportunity to get them to consider upping their contribution.

BONUS! Remind your donor to update other subscription accounts at the same time: streaming, delivery, and rideshare services. Extra points if you can recommend a streaming movie that ties to your organization’s goals. Everyone loves a good movie recommendation.

Ask for Input

You go to your close friends for advice, so it stands to reason that donors you have the closest relationships with are ones you can trust for input as well. Donors who have proven their dedication through size of gift or length of time contributing are perfect for soliciting advice and suggestions. Ask how they feel the work of the organization is going, if they have thoughts regarding your marketing, or if they wish to see more of particular data or news. Let them know how much you value their feedback.

If the relationship is especially strong and established, ask them to be on a committee or to volunteer in a higher capacity with the organization. At the very least, spotlight them in a newsletter and ask them to write you a great testimonial. You won’t know until you ask.

Help Them Find Free Money

Use Funraise's Double the Donation integration to discover whether your donor may be eligible for donation matching by their employers. If they aren’t already signed up for donation matching on their gifts, this is a perfect opportunity to shine and show your donor how they can take full advantage.

The most successful nonprofits take a donor-centric approach to their fundraising efforts. Yeah, this involves incorporating a narrative that revolves around the significance of the donor, but without a personal touch it’s all just flattery. Donors are still significantly more emotion-led in their giving habits versus other motivators, so don’t be afraid to open up and work on your relationships with them.

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