In these difficult times of government funding cuts finding and keeping new donors is of strategic importance for many charities who want to be around in 2011 and beyond. What's more, I believe nurturing those new donors can be a richly rewarding experience for both the donor and the charity that shows them that they are special.
A donor's involvement, contribution, effectiveness and satisfaction are deepened by that nurturing process. Strengthening relationships opens up opportunities for regular giving, major gifts and even legacies.
As always, identifying the type of donor to be nurtured is important – it won’t be everybody on your database. By using specific criteria of recency, frequency and amount donated you can identify segments of new donors who are already showing an interest in what you do. For example, someone who gave within the last 12 months, has made 2 or more gifts or one substantial first gift could be the kind of donor you want to nurture.
Here are some simple ideas for nurturing your generous donors:
1. Write warm and personalised thank you letters.
2. Respond quickly to supporters’ enquiries, questions or comments.
3. Make phone calls to donors when they send in large gifts. Every now and then call regular supporters who have given to your charity over a period of time.
In my opinion, a CEO or fundraising director should be making up to 10 courtesy calls a week to show appreciation to donors and also to keep the finger on the pulse getting their opinions about the charity's work. Think about it 2-3 short calls every day should be in your agenda.
4. Make sure you send out a newsletter at least three times a year offering feedback and information on how donor’s gifts are making a difference.
5. Establish multi-tier regular giving programmes/offerings and provide special feedback and involvement opportunities to participants in these groups.
6. When asking for a gift, always thank donors for their past generosity.
7. Ask board members to send personalised thank-you notes to major donors.
8. Offer e-mail updates and communicate with donors in ways appreciated by them.
9. Send one mailing a year with no reply device – just a letter of thanks and/or information about current projects.
10. Pray for your donors regularly that they will grow in their love and service of God through their giving and everything that they do.