Be My Valentine? How to Show Donors You Care

We’re all searching for that special someone. You know, the one who will stick with you through thick and thin. That person who understands you and who just gets it.

Wait, I was talking about donors—weren’t you? It’s time to stop looking for a one-night stand (er, I mean one-time donors). Because have you seen your organization lately? You deserve those donors that aren’t the giving and leaving type. With the right donor retention tactics, you can find them.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and I’m proposing that instead of succumbing to the commercial-created holiday, you use it to show your true love for people that mean a lot to your organization—the donors.

Don’t Let the Romance Die

How do you keep your love alive? Sometimes relationships lose the spark that ignited them as time goes on. It could happen to your organization too. And what’s one of the most common complaints in relationships? Lack of communication or miscommunication.

You probably didn’t think your donors would notice if you skipped calling them after their last donation. But trust me—they noticed. You know how it goes. A few missed calls turn into a few months gone by. Months turn to years and soon your organization is only a distant memory.

Exaggeration? Maybe. But I wouldn’t want to chance it. The reward is worth it when you’re communicating with donors. Plus, don’t treat them like ATMs and ask for money every time you’re communicating. Build a solid relationship by asking for what they want out of your donor/organization relationship to achieve maximum donor retention rates.

Send Them Unexpected Surprises

We love giving gifts to make somebody’s day. And often the best gifts come when the receiver isn’t expecting it. Surprises are the best, right? So don’t just let your donors know you’re thinking of them right after they donate.

Find those major donors out of the blue and do something special. You don’t even have to spend money on them. It could be something as simple as a phone call chatting about what’s new with the organization. And if you’ve asked them what they were hoping to get out of the relationship, you’ll be able to gear the phone call toward their needs.

Gifts are nice too. But you know that saying, “it’s the thought that counts?” It’s true; especially for an organization on a budget.

The Little Things Let Them Know You Care

Whether it’s a handwritten letter or a weekly newsletter that updates them on the happenings at your organization, small gestures lead to a huge impact. Listening can also be one of those little things. Ask for feedback from volunteers and donors. Do they want something to be changed in your organization? Simply hear them out. It might change your organization for the better.

What unique tactics has your organization used to keep the love alive in your donor relationships?

  • Donna Knotek

    Great reminder for all development professionals to sporadically reach out to our donors and reinforce that we value them. It’s often one of those things that gets lost in the very hectic daily life of fundraising. But, it’s important in the long term relationships that we work so hard to build. Thanks for these thoughts!