3 Ways to Make Sure Your Donors Feel Important
We made a bad choice. We are dealing with a vendor that is not delivering on its promises.
The fact is the people who represent the company are not good listeners. Since we signed up, they have not connected with us in a personal way. They have not provided much of what we ask for and send drafts that obviously haven't been thoroughly reviewed.
It's clear to us that we are just another client and one that they are trying to get out the door as fast as possible. This bad experience has reminded me how important it is to be donor-focused. Here are three lessons for nonprofits:
- Communicate personally with your donors. Even with smaller donors, you can find ways to help them connect and believe in you — a personal note here and there, a phone call from a volunteer or staff. And remember, there is no replacement for a personal touch and, whenever possible, being face-to-face.
- Listen. What are your donors telling you about your organization and how they want to interact with you? For our vendor, we made some expectations clear in our first and only face-to-face meeting, and it has largely ignored these throughout our experience. When and how do your donors want to hear from you — and what do they want to know? Ask them!
- Let the donors know they are important. Major donors are important, and frankly, they must be your focus. But treat all donors with respect, and let them know that they are important. Be careful as to the messages you send as you acquire donors — some of your small donors today will be tomorrow's major donors. While our vendor is on social media and travelling around the country, we feel forgotten.
Listen to your donors, communicate with them on a personal level and let them know that they are important! If you do this, they will be around for a long time.
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.