5 Ways to Create a Strong Donor Relationship

It’s so easy to get lost in the chaos of running a nonprofit, it can be hard to make time for donor relations. Yet, donors are critical partners on your team and deserve attention!

You need your donors, and your donors need you. Success is impossible without building donor relationships. And positive and supportive donor relationships will help create a healthier, happier operation within your non-profit. That’s why the most successful non-profits will:

Here are five ways you can create a strong donor relationship:

1. Show Appreciation To Your Donors

Give them love! Flattery goes a long way. You are literally dating your donors and the moment you stop loving on them, another non-profit will swoop and catch their attention. It costs an average of 4X to acquire a new donor than to nurture and create better relationships with your current donors. What do donors want in their relationship and how do you get them to give more? They want affirmation through multiple engagements, some of which might include:

  • Newsletters & E-Newsletters
  • Thank you notes (Notice this is plural)
  • Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, MeWe
  • Phone Calls
  • Welcome Packets
  • Annual Reports

2. Invest in Trust

Trust can form in many ways. But what tops all, is being true to your mission and the reason why your community decided you were worthy of a donation. The simplest way to achieve this is to publicly display on your website and publications that most of their donor dollars go right into the programs. A lot of donors have developed a belief that their money is dumped into a new fundraiser to raise even more money. Trust takes time to build, and as the donor relationship grows so will trust.

3. Communicate

Communication goes two ways. You love to talk about what you achieved with your donor’s dollars, but are you really listening? Take a minute a call your donor, ask them open-ended questions.

  • What are their values?
  • Why did they choose to support you or continue to support your mission?
  • How can we improve?

The amazing thing about listening is you can use it in marketing material later on. It’s called direct response marketing. You find out what their pains, wants, and wishes are and you repeat it back to them. You affirm what they believe in and that your goals are aligned allowing your organization to be immediately relatable to them.

4. Be Committed to the Relationship

Imagine this scene, you go on a date with your donor, you had a wonderful time, they brought joy to your organization’s mission. You say good night to each other and part ways. What’s your next step? Would you send an email thanking them for the date? How many days did you wait to send this email? Do you follow-up with this email for a second date? Or do you just leave them hanging? Yes, we are back to the high-school dating scene. You need to be the Prince Charming and sweep your donors off their feet. Not all donors are created equal, but the ones you want to keep – create a nurturing system to keep your donors engaged and welcomed into your organization.

5. Grow Together

When you feel your donor relationship has settled and they are committed to your cause, realize they aren’t. The settling allows other non-profits to swoop in and charm them. It means consistently communicating with them in the way they prefer to be communicated with. Take them on your journey, share your small adventures, remind them why you two fell in love.

Donor relationships are for the committed. A healthy donor relationship is working together and creating something bigger and better than what you could imagine. And if you commit, you will see something beautiful grow that you never thought possible.

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