Engaging prospective and current donors consistently throughout the year should be part of your annual development planning. There are so many ways that a nonprofit or institution of higher education can engage donors. Below is a shortlist:
Have you heard the saying “A donor should be thanked seven times”? Thanking a donor for their gift is also a way to engage and steward a donor, starting with the official acknowledgment letter and followed by personal notes, phone calls, and emails expressing your gratitude. Random thank you calls throughout the year are a great way to keep in touch, let the donor know the impact their gift is making, and ensure the donor is used to hearing from you - not just when you are soliciting a renewal gift.
Have you heard the saying “The more a prospective donor hears about and becomes involved in an organization, the more likely they will be to make a gift”? Increasing awareness of your organization is one of the keys to a successful giving program. If prospective donors have never heard about your mission, it will take longer to cultivate a contribution. Keeping your logo, mission, vision, and impact visible throughout social media, TV, radio, and print media is invaluable. Offering volunteer opportunities to prospective donors allows involvement in your mission, making an ask is truly heartfelt.
Have you heard the saying “It is so hard to recruit a donor that, once you have a donor, do everything you can to keep that donor”? Many receive a donation, thank the donor, and then do nothing to engage them before it’s time to ask again. You or a volunteer have worked so hard to obtain the gift; you should work really hard to keep it. Make sure the donor is engaged, understands how their money is making a difference, is invited to event and gatherings, and is sent the newsletter. Make your thank-you calls throughout the year.
Your three-year Development Plan, approved by the Board of Directors, should contain year-round engagement activities and touchpoints to donors. Scheduling monthly engagement activities will help ensure they get done. Below is a sample stewardship plan I included in a previous blog about stewardship. Engaging prospective donors leads to donations. Stewarding current donors leads to larger future gifts and lifetime donors.
Please email April at email@example.com with any comments or questions.
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