I know—it’s the start of a new year, but you’ve got the same old donor pool and they, frankly, are getting fatigued. And you don’t like to think of it as “going back to the well,” or “hitting on the same old suspects,” but it sure is feeling that way. And yet, your organization has real needs. You really, really, really do need their support. What to do?
First off, be counterintuitive. You want their money, yes, but for a while at least, stop asking. You heard me. Take that outstretched hand you approach them with, and turn it 45 degrees. Now take their hand in yours and:
1. Thank them for everything they have ever done for your organization.
2. Thank them again.
3. Ask them how well they think you are treating them. Are you making them feel good about their philanthropy? Have you connected the dots for them so they know what impact their gift has made?
4. Speaking of philanthropy—do you know where your organization sits at their philanthropic table? Are you at the head, or near the foot? Who sits above you—and how might you move your chair closer to the top?
5. And speaking of impact, how can you show—as opposed to simply telling—them the difference they have made? Can they take a tour? Meet a client? Be part of a video you are making? Watch one you’ve already made? Have lunch with one of your program people, or breakfast with your CEO and/or Board Pres.
6. Have them tell other donors about their impact. Ask them to write thank you letters—donor to donor—saying “thank you for joining me in…..” Or ask them to be part of a stewardship meeting with another donor. If they are good in front of a crowd, ask them to speak at a donor recognition event.
7. Ask them to help you turn a prospect into a donor. Have them attend—or host!—a cultivation event, be that a one-on-one meeting or a small gathering. Just make sure you prep them well.
8. Ask their advice, but only if you are willing to take it, on a new initiative, brochure, potential board member.
9. Invite them to a board meeting and ask them to tell your board members how they feel as a donor—what is being done well, what could be improved.
10. Do all this even if they are not your largest donors. Reward loyalty—a small donor who has supported you for many years may have, in the aggregate, made a very large gift. If not yet, they may well do so in the future.
How will you fire up your donors so that fundraising this year will be more successful than last?
Janet Levine works with nonprofits and educational organizations, helping them to increase their fundraising capacity. Learn more at http://janetlevineconsulting.com. While there, sign up for her free monthly newsletter.