Building meaningful donor relationships leads to years and years of giving. As a nonprofit or charity, cultivating donor relationships is key to success.

With today’s modern technologies, it’s easier to stay connected than it has been ever before. You can find the right audiences to share your nonprofit’s mission. Not taking the time to build a relationship with a donor will cause them to donate somewhere else.

Donor-focused fundraising will keep your donors returning to your organization. The days of donors finding your nonprofit or charity are more difficult.

Avoid a donor “one-night stand” by investing time and energy into the people who help you reach your goals. Follow these tips and you will build meaningful donor relationships that keep your donors happy.

What are Donor Relationships?

Donor relationships are the connections between you and your organization and the people who donate to your cause. Without donors, many nonprofits and charities would not be around to achieve their goals and mission.

Why are donor relationships important? A positive relationship with your donors motivates them to continue donating to your cause. The deeper the relationship becomes, the more likely your donors are to donate more and stick around.

In the end, a deep donor relationship makes your donors feel good about supporting your mission. It also allows your organization to reach its goals.

Communicate Regularly

You will be pleasantly surprised by how grateful your donors will be when you take the time to reach out to them. Contact your past, current, and potential donors regularly. Good reasons to contact them include sharing mission wins, events, stewardship opportunities, or just to check in!

For most donors, try to meet with them face-to-face to show your gratitude and interest. Meeting up for coffee or lunch for a personal conversation every quarter or so shows donors you genuinely care about them. If can’t meet in-person, phone calls work well.

At the very least, reach out to your donors 4-7 times each year. These communications can be a mix of personal conversations, events, updates, and emails about your organization’s impact.

The goal of regular communication is to let donors know you genuinely care. Most everyone appreciates a thank you, but communicating that little extra will keep your nonprofit or charity in their minds. After all, donors are humans, too.

Listen to Your Donors

Reaching out to your donors is one thing, listening to what they say is another. Listening to your donors is where you can learn and understand your donors at a personal level. Deeper relationships tend to be longer-lasting.

As your relationship with your donors deepens, you can start to form trust. Show your donors that you’re reliable and trustworthy with their investments.

Share stories of what’s happening in your organization and how the donations are helping. This can tie-in with regular communication.

With a deep connection and trust built, you can show your donors that you seek an honest relationship that benefits both parties. You’re not looking for a one-time donor, you’re willing to put in the time and commitment to value the donors you have.

Your donors will appreciate your time to build deep relationships, demonstrate trust, and show honesty. In many cases, donors may donate more to your cause. 

Be Grateful

Have you ever done something nice for someone only for them to toss it back in your face? It’s not a great feeling, is it?

Well, the same goes for your donors. Simply accepting a donation without reaching out to the donor or saying “thank you” comes off as ungrateful. If you donated to someone, wouldn’t you feel the same?

Keep a record of your donors and their donations. You can track who donated, how long they donated, and mark who you contacted and who still needs a “thank you.” But don’t start and end with a simple thank you.

As described above, share stories and stewardship opportunities within your organization with your donors. Send customized gifts to your donors based on their likes and interests. You will show that you care about and listen to your donors.

Know When to Ask

But also know when to wait. When building deep relationships with your donors, you don’t want to center every conversation around money. If every conversation you have with your donor focuses on money, it shows you only appreciate their money, not the donor.

It’s tempting to regularly send out donations requests to your donors. Create a fundraising campaign to plan how and when to request donations. It doesn’t hurt to include information about how much money you’re hoping to raise and how your organization will use it.

Keep conversations about money and donations to your fundraising campaigns. Personal conversations with donors can focus on your donor’s interests, initiatives, and what your organization is doing in the community.

Maintain Your Records

Do you remember when you last reached out to a donor, what you shared, and how you reached them? If not, it’s time to dive into record-keeping!

Creating and maintaining records isn’t the most fun, but records are important for fundraising and building donor relationships. As mentioned before, record your donors, how much they donate, and how you communicate with them. Including information about what the conversation and the donor’s likes and interests are even better.

Record keeping will prevent you from over-communicating or neglecting your donors. These records will come in handy when planning a fundraising campaign. Plus the more organized you are, the more confident you feel, right? 

Donor Relationships are a Team Effort

Building and maintaining relationships with your donors should involve everyone in your organization. The entire staff should get involved.

To do this, begin by explaining the importance of donor relationships and how it’s necessary to accomplish the organization’s goals. Breakdown how each staff member can help and any expectations. Be open to your staff’s ideas to help improve your donor relationships.

Also, equip your board! They can be a gigantic help as well.

Build Lasting Relationships Today

It’s never too late to start building meaningful donor relationships. Both your organization and your donors will feel good supporting each other and growing together.

Are You Only Looking For a One-Night Stand? How to Build Lasting Donor Relationships From the StartNeed help getting started? Let us know! We can help you with anything from fundraising strategies to how to effectively communicate with your donors.