A Magic Formula for Donor Retention, Building Relationships
You could invest a few minutes each day, or just an hour or two each week to increase your major donor retention, strengthen relationships between you and your professional colleagues, donors, potential donors and volunteer leaders, and help you stand out in the field.
The secret? The discipline of a plan for handwritten notes.
The best plan I have found is to allocate 30 minutes at the start of each day—after you have reviewed your calendar and priority list—to write three to five notes. The weekly allocation of an hour or two works as well. In either case, you have to block it on your calendar and protect it.
With daily note writing, you can show immediacy in responding to an action or encounter—"Thanks for the gift."; "Great to see you."; "Congratulations."; "Thinking of you."; and more.
Be sure that you have a plan. For example, I like writing notes periodically to members of campaign steering committees at organizations where we are providing counsel. I often do the same for board members of clients. I’ll schedule these out on my calendar.
Think, too, about the cards that you use and the messages they send. Look at having some special cards printed that reflect your mission or send a message of thanks.
Work to enhance your culture of gratitude with a culture of handwritten notes with your team. Some members of the team may seem to struggle at first with selecting people to write to, so coach them. If they have a challenge long-term, then they may just not have a spirit of gratitude, and this is a telling sign.
In today’s electronic world, handwritten notes are becoming rarer and rarer. Take advantage of this to stand out in an even more positive way by sending genuine messages to your key constituents!
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.