How to Develop a Relationship With Your Donors to Get More Donations

One of the keys to a successful nonprofit is nurturing and building strong relationships. As nonprofit leaders, we understand how important our volunteers, supporters, and especially our donors are to our organization. Take a look at five tips to start building and growing lasting relationships.

Tip 1 - Constant Communication: Keep everyone in the loop. While this sounds easy, everyday tasks and challenges can take us away from the heart of our nonprofit...the volunteers, board members, and donors. The supporters in your network are already on board with your mission. They have selected you out of hundreds of other nonprofits. Keep them updated on what is happening and encourage them to get involved. Send out a monthly email newsletter, write a blog post that links back to your website, stay active on social media, reach out to volunteers, invite them to a Zoom call, send them a survey... simple and effective ways to stay in constant communication.

Tip 2 - Keep It Personal: Sending a blanket email or cookie-cutter direct mail piece is ok, but sending a personalized email or direct mail piece is more effective. Personalize your communication, so your donors feel that you value their contributions and involvement. There are email management platforms and other personalization products on the market to help you personalize your content...truly a worthwhile investment.

Tip 3 - Build And Engage Your Board: Your board of directors is the heart of your organization. Keep them engaged, so your organization is constantly on the top of their minds. Ask them their input on important issues, invite them to special meetings, ask them to share your mission with others, most importantly, encourage them to use their influence to ask their connections for donations. They are your cheerleaders and the storytellers that can turn a volunteer or community member into a donor.

Tip 4 - Ask Current Donors For Referrals: The power or credibility of your current donors is priceless. Ask them to share your message and introduce you to their friends and colleagues. Their influence will give your nonprofit credibility and generate new donors...people like to do business (and donate) with people they know, like, and trust.

Tip 5 - Thank and Acknowledge: Thank you are two words that can strengthen your nonprofit's bottom line. Make a conscious effort to always thank your donors. Research indicates that people who give their time, support, and money to a cause they believe in will do more and give more when they are thanked and appreciated...the bottom line is as easy as, "thank, acknowledge and repeat!

Bonus Tip:  Don’t make your donors and network feel like a bank account to you – Don’t just ask them for money.  Even though dollars run our nonprofits, people are the heart of our organizations. We all just want to feel special & have a sense of belonging; finding ways to make your donors feel special will make them like & trust you more, which makes them want to tell others about your great organization! Finding ways to reach across the digital divide will make everyone feel like family.

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