10 Best Practices for Netting and Keeping Donors
7. Have a media strategy and implement it. Take advantage of media outlets that serve your donor demographic. Why not? It’s free. And “having positive press coverage in the local newspapers, magazines, TV, or even the radio serves as third-party validation of your organization and yet another way to reach out to your donors,” Burton said. To leverage the media, develop a relationship with media contacts; come up with a consistent format for press releases and send them often to build familiarity; and make sure the contact person listed in the press releases is available to the press for interviews. “Although you may not have total control over the decision to cover your story or the exact message the reporter creates, you do have control over the information you make available, the timing and the selling points that would win coverage over a competing story,” Burton said.
8. Build circles of support to reinforce your message. Encourage your board, volunteers and staff to talk with others about your organization in their everyday interactions. Build relationships with local businesses and leverage networking groups and clubs to market your organization. Word-of-mouth marketing attracts new donors, creates a good image of the organization within the community and promotes donor retention. “The more people who speak highly of your organization, the greater chance your donors will be hearing messages of credibility and worthiness in casual conversation. These messages confirm their choice in supporting your organization and can generate further excitement about being a consistent contributor,” Burton said.
9. Practice continuous improvement. Hone and improve your processes as your knowledge of and experience with donors grows. Burton recommended gathering staff together after major fundraising initiatives to review strengths and weaknesses of the effort and prepare for the next one. Evaluate, document and improve upon each fundraising effort. “Continuous improvements made to all aspects of your organization will not only help your programs be more effective, but will create an organization that your donors will be happy to be affiliated with,” she said.