Major Donors--Handle With Care
Major Donors: Handle With Care
Nov. 22, 2005
By Abny Santicola, FundRaising Success
Maintaining relationships with existing major donors is important, in part, because they are your No. 1 resource for finding other major donors, says Kim Klein, author, consultant and publisher of the "Grassroots Fundraising Journal." The level of communication and interaction you have with donors is similar to the varied relationships you have with friends. The people you hear from once a year or at holidays or birthdays comprise one layer of friends, while those you talk to every day are a different layer, Klein adds. Nonprofits should take what they know about how to make and keep friends and apply it to donors.
The first step, Klein says, is to identify the people who are giving what are, for them, very large gifts.
"That might mean that someone who gives you $250, that's their biggest gift, and that would be a very important person to keep in touch with," she adds. "It's not just about size of gifts; it's really about the size of gift relative to the person giving it."
And while all donors should receive personal thank-you notes, Klein says, major donors are the friends you keep in touch with more regularly, sending them more personalized or informative thank-yous. Major donors also should get multiple pieces of correspondence from the organization that have nothing to do with money -- e.g., letters or e-mails that pass on articles of interest related to what the organization is doing.
A key to maintaining this level of communication with major donors is getting your board involved, Klein says. Give each board member or group of board members a portfolio of 20 or so donors with the responsibility of making contact with them three or four times a year, whether it be by phone, mail or in person, to update them on the activities or events of the organization.