Face-to-face interaction is an important aspect of any organization, especially when it comes to fundraising. If your donors come from all over the world, that interaction isn’t always possible. That’s where donor trips come in.
Donor trips are a different take on the “major event” fundraising concept. It’s when your nonprofit takes a “tour” of the places where its money is coming from and you get to personally thank those that are helping you live out your mission. You also get the chance to show off some of the work you’ve done to those donors, whether it’s in the form of a presentation, or bringing along a guest who has benefited from your organization’s work to give testimony.
Groups have been taking this approach to fundraising since the early aughts and it’s done a great job to educate and immerse major donors in their mission. Nonprofit thought leader Gail Perry said on her blog that mission-focused tours “can help you spread the word in your community—and build visibility and support for your mission. A great tour is wonderful because it lets your organization’s work speak for itself.”
Here are a handful of ways you can benefit from taking a donor trip.
1. Donor retention
When you get to meet your constituency, they can put a face to a name and see the people working to better the cause. Building a relationship will hopefully encourage them to continue engagement with your organization.
2. Stewarding and cultivation
Not only does meeting your major donors give you the opportunity to educate them further on your nonprofit and its mission, but it also allows you to meet their friends and family—those that could potentially become new donors, volunteers or ambassadors in the area.
3. Bond with beneficiaries
If your nonprofit does international work and you normally don’t get the chance to meet those you’re helping, a donor trip is the perfect chance to interact with them and understand what their needs truly are.
Donors appreciate transparency. Meeting them in real life and talking about the direct impact their donations have towards your mission is something they won’t take for granted.
5. Improved messaging
How awesome does it look on social media when you post a photo visiting the site of your nonprofit’s work? Your followers will see you’re not just talk; you’re taking action too.
We all know how important it is to put donors first, especially when it comes to fundraising. Going out and meeting them in their own neighborhood, where they feel the most comfortable, can be a great get-to-know-you experience and a chance to let your donors (and potential donors) know that you truly care about their involvement in your organization.