Every nonprofit is looking for that perfect match—a committed nonprofit donor who will be there through all the ups and downs that go with the challenging work of a nonprofit organization.
Donors who commit to giving long term believe in your mission and your ability to make positive change, and they want to support your efforts as you turn your goals into reality.
When courting a donor to become a committed, long-term contributor you need to employ your best strategies to make that relationship as secure as it can be. Employing tried and true courting strategies can get donor’s attention, keep them interested, and engaged for years to come.
Searching for a Match
Targeted prospect research is a good method to locate the most qualified committed donor candidates. Identify their past and current activity with your organization, their personal and professional investments, their interaction with other nonprofits, and whether or not they own real estate. (A good predictor of an active nonprofit contributor.)
Pinpointing goals shared between you and your potential donor will give you a leg up in convincing the potential donor to join your tribe. Think about what your goals have in common with theirs and locate specific areas of conversation to use in order to convince them to join your effort.
Identify Your Strengths
Now it’s time to consider which method will be effective in attracting new contributors. Sharpen up your messaging, basing it on the research you’ve conducted. Tell a convincing story and find the marketing strategies that will get your message to the right people. The goal here is to prep your initiative to make a solid connection, showing the donor they have an important role to play, and cultivating trust in your nonprofit’s goals.
Assemble Your Back-up Team
Getting the right “wingman” in place can really help you in your effort to attract that committed donor. A good one will back up your claims, keep the message on track, and mine their networks to find like-minded people.
Bringing in a beneficiary of your organization to vouch for your hard work is an excellent way to demonstrate the need and your group’s proven record of success.
Get your board members involved. Their recommendation and active involvement can convince potential donors from their professional and social circles to explore your organization. Especially, since more than likely, they share similar interests and the meant to contribute.
Create an administrative team that will manage your efforts and oversees the activity of your new donor courtship. A major gifts officer and donor relationship manager can provide the oversight that will tell you if you are meeting your goals and provide you with insight if you need to make changes in your tactics.
A communications team can convey your message clearly and accurately. They can engage with your donors frequently and build relationships that will last for years. Form a time-sensitive communication schedule to keep your nonprofit in front of potential donors, but not so much as to turn them off from your message. A good rule of thumb is to send a thank you message after the first donation, four to six weeks after that send a report on successes, and twelve months after the original donation you should send an invite to an event.
Is It a Match?
Now you’ve found your potential donor, you’ve introduced yourself, and you’re getting a sense of the person’s potential as a committed donor. Now it’s time to find out how effective your strategies have been. Tracking your interactions with each donor is imperative in finding what has worked and what hasn’t. Keeping an up to date archive of this information can be valuable as you cultivate a deeper relationship with your donors and applying that information to assist in special fundraising campaigns you’ll have in the future.
If you find your efforts fall short, use them to adjust your cultivation strategy and keep going! You never know where your next great committed donor will be waiting to find their perfect nonprofit match.