Can You Pull a Donor Out of Your Hat?

Is your development program like a magic act? A donor appears out of thin air to support your organization. Then their gifts seem to be sawed in half. And, if by slight of hand and flick of the wrist, the donor suddenly disappears.

But a donor is harder to pull out of a hat than a white rabbit, according to Kay Sprinkel Grace, CFRE and San Francisco-based consultant. One way to help keep your donation act going is to focus on stewardship. Grace explained why you should focus on your donor stewardship at the recent Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference in National Harbor, Md.

Here are some of her tips:

  • Create a culture of philanthropy. The development department shouldn’t be the only department that cares about the donors. Try to engage all nonprofit employees in cultivating donors.
  • Put your money where your donors are. Grace said car company Lexus has a customer retention department – and your mission should be more important than a luxury vehicle. Put some resources toward ensuring your donors, your customers, are happy with their experience with your organization.
  • Have some attitude. Stewardship can’t just be an organizational strategy. Make sure all of your employees have an attitude toward engagement – from the way they answer phones to event announcements.
  • Get to know your donors. Try to personalize the relationship as much as possible. Segmentation and personalization can go a long way to building a rapport with your donors.
  • Don’t get blinded by a gift. A donation is great for your organization and shows that the donor cares about your organization on some level. But stewardship can develop your donor to give more and engage further with your organization.
  • A relationship is a two-way street. Ask your donors how they want to communicate. Some donors prefer phone calls while others only want to see communications in their inbox. Finding out what your donor wants could enhance your relationships.

courtesy NonProfit Times

For more from Kay Sprinkel Grace check our previous post, How the Dreams of Donors are Changing Philanthropy.