"Corrie ten Boom once said if the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy. Her logic is sound: both sin and busyness have the same effect - they cut off our connection to God, to other people, and even to our own soul." - John Mark Comer
In this busy season of year-end fundraising, it's SO important to keep donor care and relationships at the center of your approach.
Yes, it's a time to send appeals and make bold asks - but, when we start viewing people as dollar signs, we've lost our focus.
How well is your organization caring for your supporters?
Here's 10 questions to evaluate your systems.
1. How fast do you follow up?
Research shows that taking more than eight days between the gift and follow up increases the chance of attrition significantly. Thank before you bank! Try to follow up within 48 hours, but don't take more than 2 weeks.
2. How interactive is your communication?
Communication is supposed to be a two-way street! Get to know your donors. Spend time with them. Ask why they give to your organization? What is it that they like most about what you do? What results do they expect to see from your organization? Interaction leads to more knowledge for you and a higher level of loyalty from the donor.
3. Are you giving feedback?
Research shows that donors (just like customers) seek justification for their transaction. Give them feedback on the goals you have achieved, your plans for the future and where the money is being spent. Show and Tell!
4. Do you have a system in place to monitor your donor care activities?
A donor management system is a critical tool to help you care for your donors well. Keeping track of touch points, notes, appointments, solicitations, etc. is next to impossible without one.
5. Do you have a system in place to monitor and evaluate your programs?
Tracking program data and success, then communicating that information back to your donors is vital. Think of them as investors. You should be reporting results back to them regularly.
6. Do you have someone proactively conducting donor care?
Someone should "own" this responsibility or share it with others on the fundraising and development team. Developing a donor care plan, in addition to a marketing and communication schedule, is important for everyone to stay on track with their goals. It takes an intentional plan to make this a priority!
7. How diverse are your messaging channels?
Make sure you incorporate different methods to communicate various information. For example: direct mail, social, blogs, email campaigns, phone calls, face to face meetings, texting, etc. Survey your donors to learn how they prefer to communicate with your organization! Set SMART goals for each communication strategy in your annual funding plan.
8. Do you know your secret sauce?
You should identify your key distinctive (s) - aka your secret sauce! Helping your donor understand what makes you unique and different from other organizations who do similar work is important. Keep them educated.
9. Do you segment your list?
Donor care is not a one size fits all. Communicating with a $50,000 a year donor and a $100 a year donor should be different. Yes, all donors should be thanked and appreciated. All donors should receive standard information (newsletters, email communication, annual report, etc.), BUT there should be a strategy for communicating with different types of donors. For example: Your strategy to communicate with corporate supporters may be different than your church supporters. Communicate in a way that makes the most sense to that audience.
10. Does your board engage in the donor care program?
Get your board involved in thanking donors, sending handwritten notes, making phone calls, attending events, hosting events, etc. They should be your community megaphones!
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. - Eph. 4:2