Stewarding your Donors Past the Finish Line
All too often the name of the game in fundraising is WE NEED MONEY NOW! This mentality forces development officers at many nonprofits to direct their attention towards current gifts, leaving long-term gifts including planned giving by the wayside. Despite pressing needs for cash, your nonprofit must continue to steward its donors for planned gifts.
Teaching Your Donors
Planned giving is both beneficial for your organization and for your donor. The process of creating a will or estate plan for the first time can be overwhelming and intimidating to many people. When it comes to leaving a charitable legacy, you have a role as a fundraiser in teaching your donors. You can help them see that long-term charitable planning has significant benefits for them and their loves ones. They are not just “giving away their money.” They have the ability to make a gift that has a lasting impact on your organization’s future, can secure a legacy for their family and provide possible tax and income benefits.
Understanding Your Supporters
Your supporters who have made current or annual gifts have already demonstrated their support for your mission. Make sure you understand their motivations for supporting your cause. Understanding why a donor gives can help you craft asks for future gifts. Take time to talk with faithful donors about their long-term goals. You may recognize giving opportunities that help them achieve those goals. Now is the time to cultivate the relationships that your donors have and steward them on to better opportunities.
Donor Retention Keys
An old rule of thumb in the business world is that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing client. This concept also translates to donor retention. The fundraisers job involves being the boots on the ground, spending time and hard work meeting with donors, discussing their needs and understanding their intentions. Cultivating your donors and stewarding them past the finish line is the way you realize that success. Retaining your existing donors will be profitable to your organization in the long-term.
Saying Thank You
The power of thank you is understated and underutilized. A common response may be, “I do not have time to thank every donor because I am too busy!” Some effective, immediate and accessible ways to thank your donors include mailing a handwritten note, sending a personal email or calling them on the phone. Giving a donor a genuine thank you using a personalized message allows them to know that at the very least, their money was seen and there is a person at the organization they support that knows them. Additionally, thanking someone gives you an opportunity to connect and build a relationship.
After you have planted the seed with appreciation, it is time to show your donor that their gift has made an impact. Let them know how their money is being used within the organization that they support. Are you working on any projects? Did you build a new library on campus? Did you recently save a penguin in the arctic? Your donor wants to see results, and your projects are what they care about. Personalized and segmented updates towards the missions that they care about can make a significant impact on the donor’s emotional connection towards your organization.
The more personalized your interactions are with your donors the better you will be at stewarding them towards a gift that meets their goals. Often times the smallest gesture can make the biggest impact to a donor. Remember the small details donors mention throughout your interactions. Send a personal invitation to your donors to an event your organization is hosting or reach out to them to meet you for coffee. The more effort you take to understand why your donor is invested in your organization, the better impact you can help them make through giving. Remembering the details will open them up to be more receptive towards a conversation about taking their immediate one-time gift further through a planned gift or even blended gift (combination of a current and planned gift).
Do not stop at the finish line when there are so many benefits to cultivating and engaging with your donors towards planned gifts. We can help! For more ideas contact Crescendo.