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Want to Keep Your Donors? Three Actions to Take Right Now

April 4, 2013

donorSpecial thanks to John Elbare of Florida Philanthropic Advisors for visiting the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to share the importance of the donor development process in nonprofit fundraising success.

It’s easy to breathe a sigh of relief, with season headed north for the summer and the 36-Hour Giving Challenge behind you. But now is the time to really plan your work and work your plan.

There’s good news for you if successful fundraising seems like a mystery. If you make the necessary financial and operational investments in your fundraising program (yes, there are costs!) and follow through with dedication, your nonprofit’s revenue will increase.

Three actions to take right now if your organization is serious about success:

  1. Answer a deceptively simple question: “What does it feel like to be a donor at my organization?” 
    Would you feel loved? Appreciated? Disconnected? Over-solicited? Do you know what impact your gift has made? Have you been invited to tour or volunteer? Meet the CEO for lunch?
  2. Get serious about systems. Without a donor database with current and accurate records, and without making full use of your database’s capabilities, it is very hard to be competitive or efficient in your fundraising efforts.
  3. If you don’t have a current fundraising plan, sit down with your team and make it happen. Good plans aren’t complicated, but they provide direction to your board and staff about several essentials:
     -Of the total funds you must raise this year, how much will come from major gifts, special events, grants, earned income, your annual campaign, memberships, planned gifts, etc.?
     -What strategies and activities will you implement to achieve success?
     -Who is responsible?
     -What are your deadlines?

Good donor relations requires goals, discipline and persistence. Pay attention to what your donors are telling you and cultivate them for who they are–distinct individuals who have different needs and communication preferences but who all deserve your appreciation.

 

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