Five things your donors want from you right now

August 9, 2016 
: Huntsinger & Jeffer

In every area of life, strong relationships are built on common interests and mutual respect. Your relationships with your donors are no different.

You already have a common interest – your mission. But to build relationships that will stand the test of time, you must show your donors the respect they want and deserve. Here are five things your donor expects from you if you are to hold up your end of the relationship:

  • Proof: Your donor must believe her gifts are making a difference. Giving may be all about emotion, but you still have to have credibility. She wants to feel great about supporting you so you have to show her some concrete examples of what her gift has done and is continuing to do. IMPORTANT: Show her with stories, not numbers!
  • Value: She needs to know that you are a good steward of her money and that every dollar is spent wisely. Every time you say, “I need your help again,” you also have to say, “You have already helped so many people. Look at the difference you’ve made!”
  • Recognition: Just as important as telling her that her money is making a difference is telling her that she is making a difference. That warm and fuzzy feeling she experiences will last a lot longer if she also feels she is being personally recognized as an important part of your organization.
  • Input: We all want to feel our voices are being heard and that our opinions matter. Make sure your donor knows her feelings, values, and ideas matter to you as much as her money.
  • Access: For many donors, it’s important to feel they are on the “inside” and that the people in charge are available to them in some way. This doesn’t mean your CEO needs to take phone calls from $25 donors all day, but as any successful politician can tell you, the ability to make everyone you meet feel special is an important leadership skill.

Imagine you’re at a cocktail party or coffee shop, and you run into one of your donors. What would you say to her? How would you tell her what she means to you? If you can hold on to that image and those feelings in every interaction you have with your donors, it will help you frame your relationship in a way that meets their needs.




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