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4 easy actions to build relationships with donors

I believe fundraising is not about money, it’s about relationships. This is what Altrui is centered around: relationships. These 4 easy actions can support your relationship building.

Donor relationship building can be the easiest thing to “not have time for” when considering fundraising for your nonprofit, or even for business owners wanting to grow.

Yet time and time again I have seen where very small investments of time put into building relationships with donors end up having a large payoff (and not only in regards to giving). I see this with every client we work with, that creating systems that include building relationships with donors, and really all stakeholders, support that donor knowing more about your impact and seeing why they want to keep supporting your mission or even supporting you at a higher level.

This could mean more meals for unhoused youth, more attorneys for free legal aid for survivors, more emergecny health care for animals at your shelter, etc. It can also mean that your staff has all they need to successfully carry out your mission, and that your staff is taken care of with liveable salaries and amazing benefits.

Here are a few tips to build your relationships with donors. For some of you, these will be reminders, and for others, these can be added to your routine:

Calendar time with donors. I know, you calendar a lunch or coffee. I mean calendar time to make quick calls to check in, so the calendar item is actually “check in calls” rather than just one donor name. Make this part of your weekly actions. I know for me having it on my calendar means it gets done, or at least has a better chance of getting done.

Next, when a program staffer shares a challenge or success with you, share that with your donors, individually. Of course you may share on social media and perhaps a newsletter, but I mean share one-on-one with your donor. A quick email to share impact.

Everyone in nonprofit fundraising talks about thanking donors. Definitely. And remember you can keep thanking them, it doesn’t have to stop after the original thank you for their donation. You can even ask a board member to call a few months after the donation to say thank you.

Lastly, keep your donor data clean. This could be a whole series, and there are many in the nonprofit arena who specialize in data who know much better than me. Focus on correct spelling. Keep an eye out for formal names vs. what you call the donor. Does Mrs. Jones have a name? Have you updated addresses from your latest NCOA list?

Building relationships with your donors can become part of your weekly actions, and can pay off in ways you never imagined.

Thank you for reading!

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