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10 Rules of Donor Development You Need to Follow

Donor development and cultivation is a stepping-stone for non-profit organizations to achieve their fundraising missions. Value your donors and make efforts to build good relationships with them, and you’ll see a high spike in your donor retention rate.

On the other hand, ignore the importance of donor relationships and you’ll lose all your donors to some other non-profit organization!

Generally, the majority of the revenue of non-profit organizations comes from bequests and individual donors. This implies that an effective donor development plan for non-profit organizations will always prioritize individual givers.

Are you looking for some donor development inspiration to build a donor relationship momentum and set your non-profit organization up for long-term success?

Take notes of the following ten rules and abide by them to devise a kickass donor development plan.

1. Focus on Donor Cultivation

You may think of your donors as customers. You would want to provide them with an exceptional experience every time they come to you so that they feel pleased, informed, and engaged. Donor cultivation should top the list of your non-profit organization’s everyday priorities.

If you manage to offer an excellent experience to your supporters, you may not only see them donating generously in the future but also see them suggesting and recommending your organization to friends and acquaintances.

2. Regular Communication is the Key

When we say stay in touch with your donors on a regular basis, we mean both past and potential donors.
Whether you have stewardship updates to spill, some event details to explain, or successful mission stories to share, it’s never a bad idea to contact your donors.

Furthermore, for major donors, you may even go a step ahead and meet them in person over a cup of coffee or at lunch. If not this, you should at least give them a call and have a few words with them personally. Donors with high giving merit levels are VIPs – they deserve extra efforts from you!

Never feel small or hesitate to tell your donors that all the good work your organization does is possible just because of them.

3. Switch between Different Communication Channels

It’s crucial that you understand that what one donor likes may not be preferred by other donors. When you’re working on your communication skills, make sure you take advantage of various communication channels.

Make the otherwise mundane communication strategy a little more interesting by using a variety of communication channels. You should consider sending out weekly newsletters, engaging emails on a monthly basis, and perhaps give the major donors a personal call. In addition to this, focus on maintaining an active presence on social media platforms, given that it’s the digital age. Maintaining a blog also improves your chances of reaching a wide audience base.

4. Show Genuine Gratitude

You should be grateful for your donors who donate their hard-earned money to your charity. Always remember, the amount of donation doesn’t matter, their intention does. So, whether someone has donated $25 or $25,000, thank them immediately for their kindness.

You would want to send them personalized emails as well within 24 hours to show that you genuinely appreciate their contribution. You may also follow up with a phone call to heighten the effect.

What you should realize is that donations tend to grow over time. More often than not, first-time donors contribute a small amount to test their experience and then base their future donations making it their standard.

5. Equip Yourself with the Right Resources

An effective donor development strategy may not work really well if your non-profit organization lacks the right resources. Typically, well-trained staff, modern technology for streamlining the outreach phase, and of course, an adequate budget to ensure your program is able to run throughout the year.

Moreover, it’s essential to make sure that you keep the board and planning committees of your organization in the loop so that they know what you need and why it’s so crucial for the organization.

6. Keep Careful Records

Which method did you use to reach out a particular donor and when was it?

What was the topic of conversation?

You should consider keeping proper records of your donor outreach strategies to make sure that valuable information is always easy and quick to access. If careful recordkeeping intimidates you, you may use donor management software to ensure that all details are kept organized at all times.

7. Be Prepared to Receive Feedback

Just like any other human relation, donor relationship is never a one-way street. Your donors not only want to feel valued but they’re also interested in knowing that their feedback is important for you. So, when a donor has something to say, you should lend a listening ear and not talk too much.

That being said, you may want to approach donors yourself, whether by calling them or meeting with them and ask for their opinion on a recent program. This will give you valuable insight into the things that matter to them, helping you build deeper and stronger relationships.

8. Don’t Contact Them Only When You Need Funds

It’s important that you don’t treat your donors as an ATM machine.

A simple rule of thumb to follow is that the majority of your conversations with the donors shouldn’t revolve around money. Try to get to know them on a personal level. Try to find out what is it that keeps them interested in your non-profit organization. Tell them about the recent developments and projects of your organization.

When it comes the time to ask for funds, you won’t feel awkward. Just make them realize how their contribution will make a difference.

9. Work Like a Team

Donor development is indeed a team job. Make sure all your staff members understand how donor cultivation is central to your mission and a determining factor for the organization’s success. Everyone in the team must know what is expected of them and why.

10. Be Optimistic

While donor development is a pleasant process on most days, there might be a few challenging days as well. Even when you’re caught up in work and have a lot on your plate, a positive mindset and professional demeanor might make all the difference.

Building and implementing an effective donor development strategy is the key to enjoying your non-profit organizations’ success. If you want to make your fundraising and donor acquisition process easier, you may get in touch with Fundraising Auctions. This platform is dedicated to helping non-profit organizations enjoy better fundraising solutions.

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