Everything You Need to Know About Donor Relations

Cultivating donations is not the only way to fund your nonprofit, but it’s certainly one tried and true strategy to keeping your impact. Perfecting donor relations is key to cultivating and keeping donors.

Donors are one of the great forms of engagement in a cause. When someone is willing to open up—not only their Facebook page to share your post—but their wallets to donate, you’ve got a believer. Though there has been a lot of buzz lately about whether or not making your donors into heroes is a good thing, there’s no doubt that there’s a good way to communicate with your donors and there’s a bad way.

We’ve compiled the best resources from around the web so you can master your donor relations and communication strategy.


Donor Cultivation & Retention

One of the hardest parts of donor relations is the first step—finding people to donate. Though each step has its own challenges, donor cultivation unlocks the door to perfecting every other piece of the donor relations world. Getting the donors is half the battle, as donor retention ensures a long-term engaged crowd who continue to contribute to your bottom line.

[PODCAST] Donor Relationships, Donor Retention and Donor Choice ft. Adrian Sargeant

Put Donors First—Tips to Succeed

Be My Valentine? How to Show Donors You Care

Why Donor Cultivation is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

[PODCAST] Donor Cultivation and Fundraising Faux Pas | Ft. Steven Shattuck Part one and Part two

Donor Communications

Since donors are already one step deeper in terms of engagement, you’re going to have to communicate with them differently than, say, your social media followers. With that being said, we have the tips to help turn your social media followers into donors, and how to allocate your marketing dollars, as well as your donor communication dollars.

Five Steps to Budget Your Marketing and Donor Communications Dollars

Escaping the Stigma: What Nonprofits Need to Help Donors Understand

5 Steps to Target Donors for Year-End Fundraising Success

Top Three Tips to Master Donor Persuasion

How to Make New Donors, But Keep the Old

Donor Segmentation

No matter how you choose to store your donor data, segmenting the master list into subsequent lists will help you craft targeted messages and separate calls to action. If we sent the same message using the same medium with the same ask to every donor, some donors would be under-asked, others over-asked while some would be missed completely. Segment your list and implement a communication strategy for each one.

Pull that List: Donor Management Tips and Tricks

List-Pulling Worksheet: Download for Your Next Mailing

[PODCAST] Donor Conversion: From Mid to Major | Ft. Maeve Strathy

How to Fundraise and Better Allocate Your Time with Donors

Who are Mid-Level Donors and Why Should I Care?

[PODCAST] Gain Major Donors for the Small Shop | Ft. Jay Love

Donor Follow-Up

Following up with donors is a great first step to keeping them around, but it’s not always as easy as a mass email after they’ve donated to your current campaign. It’s not always a one-time email or direct mail piece, and it doesn’t always look the same for every level or every type of donor. Follow-up in itself is a multifaceted aspect of an overall fundraising strategy and will set the tone for future communications with each donor.

Definitive Timeline to Master Follow-Up with First-Time Donors

Nonprofits Fail at Following Through and It’s Time to Fix It

How to Combat the Excuses of Poor Nonprofit Follow-Through

3 Ways to Integrate Donor Acknowledgements and Appeals

How to Fan the Flames of Donor Loyalty in 2016 and Beyond

Data & Software

You’ve heard it a thousand times, what gets measured gets managed. But you can’t execute either of those things effectively if you don’t have the right things in place to help you do so. Tracking and reviewing data will help you learn more about your constituency, organize your lists and streamline your messaging and implementing the right software will streamline the entire process.

Nonprofit Experts Weigh In: Their Best Data Tips

How to Access and Use Big Data in the Nonprofit World

3 Superhuman Ways Donor Management Software Can Improve Your Organization’s Fundraising Efforts

The Data Every Nonprofit Should be Tracking

Creating a Natural Conversation on Your Donation Landing Pages

Much like nonprofit marketing, donor relations is no easy task but has to be a conversation that you bring to the table. Finding donors, retaining donors, keeping track of them and communicating with donors are some of the most important things you can do, but also each brings their own individual challenges and opportunities. Bookmark this page as you’re determining your donor relations strategy and keep all of these essential resources at your fingertips.

Did we leave a resource out? Feel free to drop a link in the comments below!

donor relations

Nick Small

With specialties in content strategy and creation, social media engagement and digital marketing optimization, Nick brings a depth of experience in nonprofit marketing. He’s also helped hundreds of nonprofits with their online presence to improve donor retention and attract new audiences, and he still has time for a good glass of whiskey, round of golf or new adventure.

June 8, 2017

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