Connecting With Your Donors

A non-profit organization is a busy place. There's always so many things to do and never enough time to deal with them. My nonprofit experience has been primarily with small organizations.

At the organization where I worked, I was the fundraiser and the administrator. That meant donations processing, tax receipts and various other administrative duties. It was during my work there that I forgot the primary reason for my being there: the donors.

It was so easy to get caught up in the work of the organization and forget who allowed you to be there.

Donors, like the staff and board, make up an organization. They are an integral part of it and yet many donors don't hear from their charitable organizations enough.

Think of your donors like you would close family or friends. Would you only contact them once a year? Would you just spout the news or would you really share what was going on?

Now, I'm not saying to share everything with the donors, but rather share the important things.

Here's some tips:

1. Connect Your Donors with Your Clients

I believe that every piece of communications that a nonprofit produces should have the aim of connecting their donors with their clients in some way or another. Whether it's a direct mail campaign, newsletter or blog, donors want to know who they are donating to.

2. Share News, Even When It's Not Perfect

This one's tricky. Clearly you don't want to report to your donors that you are failing at your mission, however I believe that it's also important to share with your donors that you aren't perfect. This is an organization, not a robot, and things are bound to go wrong. Sharing that you haven't reached your fundraising goal may spur on donations. It's all about the way you spin the information.

3. Connect the Donors With You

You are a part of this organization and as the development officer/fundraiser/executive director you play an important part. Try to connect with your donors online or in person so they can put a face to the hard work that you've been doing.

4. Ask Your Donors What They Want

This seems simple enough, yet it can be very tricky and time consuming. Let's say you have 500 donors. Are you really going to ask every single one of them how many times they would like to recieve communications a year or whether they would be interested in online giving? That's alot of work and alot of data to collect. You can segment your list and poll major donors or do a random selection. Try approaching donors at a fundraising event or sending an online survey. They will be appreciative that you asked them for their opinion.

So what ways do you connect with your donors? Share below.


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