We all know the phrase, “You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.” It means you can only get from people what they are willing or able to give. When it comes to fundraising, many nonprofits can relate to the old adage.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a donor who makes a one-time online gift of $20 or a major philanthropist who donates $20,000 a year, in some way a relationship must be built to motivate them to give.
Donor cultivation relies on personal communication, constant activity and a tried-and-true strategy, but what are some specific keys to unlocking strong and sustainable relationships?
- The first step is getting their attention. Major donors will usually have many people who are seeking support competing for their attention. Have someone who knows them introduce you or hold a volunteer opportunity at the donor’s business.
- Make the donor feel like part of your team by asking for advice and suggestions, involving them in volunteer activities and inviting them to attend events.
- Donors are typically seeking out non-profits that will deliver the best outcomes for the largest number of people. Explain to them what your plans are for the future and why you need the money. Don’t forget to let them know specifically what their money went toward.
- Strike an emotional chord with the donor by telling stories and asking them to meet with individuals who are benefiting from their donations. One example of how to do this is asking clients to write a letter explaining in their own words how your organization has affected their lives and thanking the donor for their contribution.