The Best Way to Cultivate Donors? Give Them a Great Giving Experience
We are working with a client with several high net-worth board members who have been donors, but not at a level commensurate with their giving capacity. This organization is moving from a focus on special events—where their annual giving was a program of event sponsorships—to a relationship-based culture of philanthropy.
The reality is that while these board members have capacity, they have not been provided giving opportunities to engage them at higher levels. There is a need to clarify the case statement, so donors can more fully understand the difference they will make.
However, for several board members, it will take additional steps and probably several gifts before they are giving at their full potential.
This reminds me that the best donor cultivation is a great giving experience—at any level. Donor retention is a hot topic and while our field struggles with this, many of us can relate to poor giving experiences where gifts were not acknowledged, communication was poor, our names were misspelled and there was no follow-up.
Be sure that you have appropriate stewardship plans for donors at all levels. For major-donor prospects like these board members, it needs to be very personal. This will require regular interaction and a lot of listening. It means that whatever gift is made, it should be received with great excitement. Donors need to know the impact that they are making. And in situations like this where the case needs refining, involve prospective major donors in the process!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.