The "Up and Out" Fallacy
If you effectively can communicate your message four or five times a year, then mail four or five times a year. More likely, your financial needs and your mission will require much more frequent communication with donors.
Those donors who’ve moved above your demarcation line need as much communication and as frequent contact as everyone else. Just because a donor now is giving more doesn’t mean he or she wants less contact with you. On the contrary, an increased level of giving often signals a desire for more dialogue and more participation.Rather than decreasing the number of communication efforts, consider substituting or even adding a special report or donor-affirmation mailing. A progress report or a special thank-you letter unrelated to a specific gift will build your donor’s loyalty without harming your revenue stream.
You also might want to ask each of your staff colleagues to call five to 10 of these upper-level donors twice during the year, once on the anniversary of their first gift to your organization and again during the holiday year-end period.
Above all, keep asking for financial support. Each year, these important donors should receive a blend of communications that ask for support, thank them for their gifts, report how their gifts are being used, and provide opportunities for participation such as volunteering and advocacy.
Give donors control
As with all donors, but especially those making large contributions, give choices and allow donors to control the relationship. This especially is important for baby boomer donors who’ve exercised choice and control their entire lives.
Ask your upper-level and major donors if they want to receive special reports or e-mail newsletters. Ask their opinions on issues and topics related to your organization’s mission. If you’re a local or regional organization invite these important donors to visit and tour your facility.