When you’re cultivating high value donors, you need to have a serious game plan in mind.
I get a lot of calls from charities looking to reach “wealthy people”. They think they can send them a letter or email them and, bingo – they’ve converted a new donor. There are hundreds of charities. Why should they donate to yours? And, when they do – what’s your plan to keep them?
In today’s highly competitive world it’s more important to retain a donor than to go find a new one.
How does your agency treat it’s best contributors? What do you do to cultivate your high value donors?
One of the most important pillars of fundraising is stewardship. When high value donors are nurtured, they feel important. They renew their gifts to your agency because they feel valued by your organization.
I am reprinting a list of things you can do by Karen Climer from FundRaising Success Magazine, July 01 2008 Issue. Don’t be put off by the date of the article. These are great tips to help any agency develop relationships with their donors. I have also included some 2019 information as well as items from my own experience.
Like it or not, the majority of our major-gifts donors simply are not impressed with the amount of email we can send them. Instead, they want a birthday card, a phone call or a heartfelt thank-you. Renewal gifts are about stewardship.
Nurture your high value donors
- Send your donors birthday cards.
- For milestone anniversaries, send flowers.
- Send holiday cards. If your agency has a preschool or camp, consider using a drawing done by one of the children. Your donors will appreciate it.
- Invite them on tours of your facility. Make sure you have someone who benefits from the organization’s work on hand to say thank you.
- Consider asking someone who benefits from the organization’s work call donors. While this needs to be monitored, if offers some strong personal connections.
- Ask a recipient who benefits from the organization’s work write letters describing how the organization has helped.
- Have board members call or write thank-you notes to donors. This deepens connections.
- When an article about your organization appears in the local news, send it to donors. Attach a note that says, “With your help we are able to help more students than we ever thought possible. Thank you.”
- When you send out your regular newsletter, attach a note that says, “I think you’ll like the photos of the children on Page 6. The new pediatric ward was possible because of your support.”
- Ask donors for advice, and let them know of any success as a result of following that advice.