There's a delicate balance to maintaining healthy relationships with non-profit volunteers and donors. You need their help and they want to help. But you also don't want to become a nuisance; you don't want to ask too much. Building trust can remove much of the hesitation when it comes to nurturing these relationships and can foster a longer, healthier partnership.
Here are some important tips for building your donor and volunteer relationships.
Offer sincere thanks and acknowledgments.
Make sure to thank your volunteers and donors for their time, support and generosity. Be sure to personalize your messages whenever possible and let them know how much you appreciate them. When you can, don't just send an email or a letter, and never send something that looks like it's a form. Call them directly, talk to them, and engage with their lives.
Keep in touch even when you don't need anything.
If someone donated to you or volunteered their time, they believe in your mission. Update them on what you're doing. Connect with them throughout the year. Let them know what their support has done for your organization, how you're all making a difference, and what's coming next.
Provide meaningful opportunities.
Give your volunteers and donors opportunities to be involved in your organization's work and make a real impact. Let them see the difference they're making and how their contributions are making a difference in the world. Many organizations yield great success by showing volunteers and donors a specific consequence of their actions, such as an animal that they saved, a child they fed, or a neighborhood they revitalized.
Help them recruit on your organization's behalf.
Give them t-shirts and other merchandise. Make sure it's easy for them to show the work they've done with pride. Ask them to spread the word about your organization, what they love about it, and what they've contributed. This can help attract new people who share their same values and goals. Moreover, if their family and friend group develop a "culture" of working with your organization, they'll be more inclined to regularly engage.
Personalize all your communications; avoid mass mailing.
Make sure all your communications with volunteers and donors are personal and respectful. Take the time to read their messages and respond promptly. Let them know that you appreciate their support and connection to your organization. While a few mass letters a year are a great way to keep people connected, including personal notes and information will go a long way.
Volunteers and donors are essential to the success of any non-profit organization. By following these tips, you can nurture these relationships and create a community of supporters who are invested in your organization's work.