Why You Need Consistent Communication
One of the pushbacks we get from major gift officers about “The Veritus Way” is the need to create at least one touchpoint per month PER DONOR for everyone in your portfolio. Over the course of a year, that is 1,800 touchpoints.
That is where the pushback comes from. It seems so daunting of a task that it immediately gets rejected by the major gift fundraiser as being “too much.”
It’s not really as daunting as you might think, but I’ll go into how to do it in a bit. I first want to make the case WHY this amount of communication is so important:
- You’re building trust. This requires solid communication that shows the donor you know them.
- You’re building a case. Ongoing communication that is thanking, reporting back and showing ongoing need is necessary for a donor to want to continue giving.
- You’re creating desire. Your consistent communication with a donor should be designed to create a desire in your donor to want to “do something” about a need they can help address.
- You’re delighting the donor. The touchpoints you will be sending every month is about trying to delight the donor in every conceivable way. This is your attitude as you prepare these touchpoints. This will set you apart from all the other ways they are being communicated with from others.
OK, so this is why it’s so important to provide consistent (at least monthly) touchpoints for your donors. Now, here’s how to look at this so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming:
- Tiering your donors. Your A-level tier donors will receive your most personal type of touchpoints. As you continue down, the B-level donors and C-level donors get less personal.
- Review all the communication pieces that your organization already creates. For example, your organization creates a quarterly newsletter. That’s four months of touchpoints right there. Now, you just need to personalize how you deliver that newsletter to donors at each tier level. Perhaps you also put out an annual report. That’s another month’s worth of touchpoints. So take all of those, and put them into your marketing impact chart by donor. My guess is that you’ll already have six to eight months worth of touchpoints that have already been created, and all you have to do is personalize them.
- Decide when you are going to solicit the donor. Then work a few months back from that date, and figure out what you need to create desire in the donor for that particular offer.
- Remember important dates in the donor’s life. Do you know their birthday, anniversary or how long they have been giving to you? Put that into your marketing impact chart.
- Thank you donors and report impact. Over the course of a year, you should send thank-you notes and update the donor on the impact of their giving, both formally and informally. That’s three to four months of touchpoints right there.
- Send “Hey, they know me!” touchpoints. Create at least one touchpoint per donor per year that shows the donor that you and your organization really know that donor, especially for your A-level donors. For example, you know your donor loves old movies. You come across an article about how someone’s mission is to preserve old movie film and the process it takes. What do you do? Send that donor the article in the mail or email them the link to it.
You see, it’s not so hard if you think about it this way!
These 1,800 touchpoints are critical and will be the reason you are so successful as a major gift officer. It’s that consistent “drip” of communication for your donor that will create the trust needed and, ultimately, the desire created to make a significant gift.
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.