There is no better strategy for increasing nonprofit revenue than donor stewardship, according to international fundraising consultant, Vanessa Chase. It’s more expensive to recruit new benefactors than to nurture existing philanthropic support, but you need to be consistent in stewarding your relationships. If you allow communication to lapse, your donors could move on.
As a fundraiser, you absolutely need to schedule time for stewardship, regardless of other priorities. Pencil some reminders into your calendar and follow these tips for keeping in touch organically:
Leverage Social Media
You’re probably using social media as an outreach platform for new donors, and you should think about creating a continuing community among your loyal givers. Ask your supporters – old and new – to share their interests with each other on your social media page, said John Haydon. Try to spark a discussion about what drives each of them individually, allowing new donors a chance to introduce themselves. They should have no trouble getting the ball rolling because passion is at the core of giving. Creating this virtual space establishes the idea that you’re all part of the same team.
Speaking of teamwork, don’t forget to recognize fundraising volunteers and staff. Doing so keeps up the energy of those working on the front lines. You don’t want your team to burn out, so give every fundraising success a mention on your Facebook page.
Show The Numbers
Social media conversations aren’t the only way to engage donors. Gail Perry noted the importance of empowering your donors with knowledge. Give them numbers and news to show concrete evidence that your organization is making a difference. Small, consistent pieces of data lend you credibility and elicit trust in your donors. Don’t forget the most important data point for individual donors: how their specific donations are being used.
Donors want to know immediately that their contributions are significant, noted fundraising coach Marc A. Pitman. When your online donors see the confirmation page pop up, they should see some words of gratitude. For those who donate over the phone or through the mail, send a confirmation email right away. CRM tools in your donation management software can automate the process of sending online thank-you notes, but that shouldn’t stop you from embedding a personalized message for each, said Pitman. Giving even a small amount of personal recognition to your supporters can prompt them to give again.
Your online donation confirmation page can also include an invitation to head over to your social media pages and join the conversation. Keep communication going, and touch base with your supporters often. Remember that regular correspondence comprises more than requests for money; instead of getting down to business, share positive, inspirational stories about your organization’s work. If you’re afraid of adopting too aggressive a strategy, then change your scope, Chase reminded. Stewardship is about thanking your donors, not about hounding them. Be sincere, and your donors will remember you.
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