Most nonprofits could benefit from a few donor management tips. We all know that people give money to people, not to organizations. That is why it is so important for nonprofits to target their potential large donors and figure out ways to draw them into the community that is the organization.
When a large donor feels comfortable with the people involved, they will feel comfortable contributing to the success of those people.
Why Fundraising Is Really “Friendraising”
Everyone in your organization needs to understand the urgency of sharing their enthusiasm with their networks of potential donors. There are a number of ways this can be done.
Here are just a few:
1. Invite your prospects to various functions. These can be annual meetings, lectures, workshops, or any other public event sponsored by the nonprofit.
2. Take your contact on a personal tour of the facility. Arrange for key people to meet you along the way. Plan to end up in the Executive Director’s office where you can entertain questions and make a comfortable introduction.
3. Plan to have targeted social events. Invite people “backstage” in your organization. Let them see things that are not regularly open to the public. Make them feel like an insider.
4. Make them feel special. Let them know just how much you value their interest. Give them a sense of belonging.
5. Ask them if they would consider volunteering. Ask them to do a very menial and non-threatening task. Some of the biggest donors I ever saw started out by stamping letters two days a week for an hour or two.
6. Tell potential donors that you would appreciate their advice. Let them know that you know something they can help with. Whether it is a simple question about finance, or an involved analysis of a computer system, people like to feel needed and wanted.
They will respond to you much better if you can show them that their value to the organization is not only money.
7. Network for leads by asking your prospects about other people who might be interested in the work you are doing. Wealthy people generally fraternize with other wealthy people, and you just may find that your prospect leads you to much bigger potential.
8. Provide a meaningful way to recognize large donors for their generosity. Whether it is a donor wall, plaques, or any other means of providing donors with public recognition, people will see the names of their friends, relatives and business associates.
One of the biggest human emotions is the desire for praise, and creating a means to bestow that praise is a large incentive to many philanthropists.
9. Ask a prospect to allow you to host a function at their home. You can tell them what a beautiful house they have, and how much your organization would appreciate using it for a luncheon or tea. Flattery will get you everywhere.
10. Look for ways to tell your prospect stories about your organization. People relate to stories. It is much better to tell them about a patient experience, an audience event, or a student achievement than it is to tell them about your nurse to patient ratio, your demographics, or how many of the class went on to college.
The secret in raising large amounts of money is not how many letters you get out into the mail, but how many qualified donors your organization can befriend.
Remember that donor management or “friendraising” is a long-term and ongoing project, so get your staff on board and start now.
About the Author
Jim Gould is the Chairman of Fundraising Solutions, a fundraising company that offers a free fundraising program for non profit organization fundraising and ClickShopSupport.org, a charity shopping site.