Establishing Better Connections with Donors

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One of the most important aspects of fundraising is the establishment of a great relationship with the donors. No matter what kind of fundraising activity you are doing, it is essential that you are able to communicate with your donors effectively. This article gives some advice on how you can better connect with your donors.

1. Focus on the beneficiaries, not on your organization.
Whether you are a small group or part of a bigger organization, the focus of your fundraising efforts should be your beneficiaries. Although you might be tempted to emphasize how much your group is doing, donors are more interested to hear about the people that you are planning to help. Dwelling more on your organization may turn off interested donors. And so, remember that it is not about you; it is all about the beneficiaries of your cause.

2. Use familiar words when communicating.
Whenever you make an announcement, write a letter, or publish a news article about your fundraising activities, be sure to use words that would be familiar to your donors. Depending on your cause, there might be some terms that are familiar to you and your co-workers, but not to your donors. As much as possible, communicate in terms that they would understand. Avoid jargon! On the other hand, if you need to include them, provide clear definitions so that your donors will be able to grasp what you want to say.

3. Appeal to people’s emotions.
In fundraising, always keep in mind that you are working with people -- and people express and react through emotions. If your message comes across as too formal or technical, then it might be lacking in the emotional aspect. How can you do this? Simply by putting yourselves in your donor’s shoes. How would they react to an issue or a problem that you are trying to address? Why should they be concerned about your cause? How are they related to the people that you are planning to help? Think about such things as empathy, kindness, and compassion, and try to integrate them into your message.

4. Respond to your donors promptly.
There are few things that are more annoying than a late response, right? The same goes for your donors. One of the secrets to great communication is to address questions and inquiries as soon as possible. When you are prompt in responding to your donors, it shows that you are professional and truly concerned with what you are doing. Do not leave them hanging for long, otherwise they might turn their attention (and support) elsewhere.

5. Respect your donor’s boundaries.
While it is always a good idea to respond to your donors promptly, bombarding them with too many messages is a bad idea. Nobody likes a stalker, right? In this case, try to be sensitive to your donor’s need for personal space. The last thing they want is to see a message alert from you too many times! Each donor might be different, so be aware of individual preferences, including how and when they want to be contacted.

Having a good relationship with donors is crucial to any fundraising activity. You can improve your connections with them if you focus on your beneficiaries, use familiar terms, appeal to emotions, respond promptly to queries, and respect your donor’s boundaries.

Melissa Anderson

Written by : Melissa Anderson

Melissa first started fundraising when her daughters' pre-school needed some sun shades. Since then, she's gone on to become somewhat of  fundraising ideas expert, as well as a super-Mum. Melissa loves sharing ideas about how to raise funds, and welcomes your questions on this blog.

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