When Donors Come to Visit
Also, look around for signage that should be updated or replaced to be visitor-friendly. If the sign saying “Women” has fallen off the door, get someone to put it back up or do it yourself. (“Fundraising as handyman” is often the case — let’s just get it done!) The impression for your visitors is that you are an organization that pays attention to details — in your offices and program sites, and with how you steward your donor’s money.
These may seem like silly things for a fundraiser to worry about. But too often, no one worries about them. And then a prospective donor stops in unexpectedly (or even scheduled), and we are embarrassed by small things that seem to multiply when a guest is present. We want our donors to focus on the wonderful things being accomplished because people like them entrust the organization with their money, so we need to be sure any distractions from this message — no matter how minor they seem — are removed.
While your offices or program sites may not be on the town’s Top 10 Tourist Sites list, people stop in from time to time. Seeing a well-run nonprofit that appears to be doing interesting work can turn that visit into a cultivation opportunity. This old dog has had to escort unexpected guests around many times over the years, and trust me on this — pointing out filing cabinets and extolling your wonderful alphabetical filing system are not what build lasting relationships with donors. Instead, it’s the passion of your work that they experience with every step they take on your impromptu tour.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.