Very rarely will a donor commit to a gift, let alone a major gift, when they barely know you or your organization. I always put myself in the donor’s shoes and ask myself: would I give to this organization based on a mailing or call from the annual fund callers. And, my answer is that I would if I had some kind of information or relationship about the cause or organization. So based on this personal analysis, I’ve determined that fundraising or development is all about the relationship between organization and donor and the value that the organization places on stewarding the relationship.
I know that if I was a donor, I would want to feel included and part of the inner circle. One way to accomplish this is to invite your donors to special events to make them feel special. Recently we had one of several College of Science Discover Science Lectures. This lecture series started several years ago and has grown in popularity ever since. The latest lecture was given by Paul Wender, a Stanford chemist who has done cutting edge research in HIV and Alzheimer’s treatments. Dr. Wender is a chemist and was our first Milt Glick speaker in memory of our university president, Milt Glick, who passed away in 2013.
We invited our chemistry alums and emeriti faculty to a special reception prior to the lecture. We also invited donors to the College of Science – focusing on chemistry donors. The lecture series is an opportunity to tailor the invitations to alums and donors who truly have a passion in the subject of the lecture. It makes them feel special and valued. And, most importantly, it furthers the relationship between the organization and the donor.
Recently I read an article entitled, 4 Keys to Building Relationships with Major Donors, and key number 1 stresses the importance of getting the donors attention – often by inviting them to events that focus on their passions.
Check out this article and let me know how you build relationships with your donors, by leaving a comment below.