[Editor’s note: This is part 1 of a three-part series on the session “30 Ideas in 60 Minutes: Your Hour of Creative Power” held on June 10 at Fund Raising Day in New York.]
One of the best ways to improve your organization and fundraising initiatives is to learn from others in the sector and take ideas that will work for you and your donors.
At the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater New York Chapter’s Fund Raising Day in New York last Friday, three fundraising experts shared 30 ideas in one of the first sessions of the day. Here are ideas 1-10 that Joe Manes, senior vice president of A.B. Data, Bryan Terpstra, vice president of fundraising at LW Robbins, and fundraising and communications advisor Jennie Thompson offered attendees. Check back next week for ideas 11-30.
‘When a customer buys a quarter-inch drill, what he really wants is a quarter-inch hole’
That means you should know what your donors want when they’re making gifts, Thompson said. You must understand the donor’s end goal as much as what appeal made her give.
Let them know you love them
Send your five-plus-year donors a cultivation mailing every year, Manes said, and be sure to continually acknowledge their loyalty. Loyal donors want to be recognized for their continued support, and they’re often excellent candidates to bump up to the next level of giving, i.e., major giving, monthly giving, planned giving, etc.
Audit and then improve your acknowledgments
Terpstra said that over the course of his 25-plus years in the sector, he’s seen a big correlation between great donor service and high donor loyalty.
“One key of donor retention is acknowledgment,” he said. “Donors want to be thanked promptly and treated well.”
For those reasons, it’s vital to acknowledge your donors, but you shouldn’t sound too institutional in your communications.