When communications flow, relationships grow!

Feb 10, 2022

Feeling unappreciated is one of the most common reasons a donor will stop giving to your nonprofit. But when communications flow, relationships grow!

So, one of the best ways to retain more of your donors is to focus on what they are hearing in between appeals.

A donor will start to feel like an ATM when they’re asked to give again and again, without receiving thoughtful stewardship communications in between.

But when your nonprofit takes the time to build an outreach strategy that keeps donors engaged between asks, you will find they become more connected to your mission, your work, and will be eager to give again the next time you do make an ask!

So, what messages do donors what to hear in between appeals? And how can you build a strategy that helps relationships grow?

Let’s find out!

Your thank you's should be timely, repetitive, donor-centric, and impactful.

An effective thank you.

First things first, you should be going above and beyond to say thank you when someone gives to your nonprofit, especially if this is the first time they donated!

Your thank you’s should be timely, repetitive, donor-centric, and impactful.

So, make sure you have an automated email set up to provide supporters with their donation receipt after they give.

Then, reach out again to let them know how their gift is being used to make an impact on the goals they share with your organization. Be specific and demonstrate the real impact their gift of $X is having on the stories you’ve been telling in your appeals!

READ MORE: How better thank you’s can elevate your fundraising.

Send a survey.

Relationships are a two-way street. Your nonprofit should know your donors just as well as they know about your organization and work!

Send a survey to learn more about your donors and use what you learn to be more personal and relevant in future communications. This will bring your supporters closer to your nonprofit and help relationships grow.

So, think of a unique data point you wish you knew about your donors.

Then send a survey to learn more about your audience!

And don’t forget to let your supporters know you’re asking because you care about them and want to accommodate their preferences!

READ MORE: Why your nonprofit should be using donor surveys.

Mail donors a card to recognize the anniversary of their first gift and remind them of the impact they've made since then.

Recognize anniversaries and birthdays.

Doesn’t it feel good when an old friend reaches out to say, “happy birthday”?

Of course, it does!

And sending these types of messages is one way to make sure relationships grow between your nonprofit and your donors.

Your donors might be expecting a birthday card in the mail from their friends and family. But receiving one from their favorite nonprofit reminds them how valuable they are to your organization!

You can also send donors a card on the anniversary of their first gift. Thank them for the difference they’ve helped make since their first donation X years ago.

Be specific and let them know exactly how much they’ve given over time. Describe some of the ways they’ve made and impact on your nonprofit’s mission since their first donation.

READ MORE: 4 reasons your nonprofit is struggling to retain donors.

Invite them to volunteer.

There are more ways eager supporters can make an impact on your goals besides making a financial donation. And inviting your donors to your next volunteer opportunity is a great way for donors to support you without giving money!

We all know the saying, time is money. And some donors may be excited to do more for the cause.

So, keeping your supporters aware of volunteer opportunities can be a great way to help relationships grow while a donor furthers their impact!

As always, try to be as personal and relevant as you can.

Invite your donors to participate in volunteer opportunities related to the programs they’ve shown interest in. Using your data this way demonstrates that you are really paying attention to what is important to your donors!

READ MORE: 3 ways nonprofits use donor data to improve results.

Even if they can't attend, donrs will apprecaite being invited to your next event!

Invite them to events.

Inviting donors to your next big event is a great way to show them how much they mean to your nonprofit. It re-enforces the bond you’ve been building and takes your relationship a step further.

While attendance is icing on the cake, it’s not just about getting the donor to come to your event.

Nobody wants to be the person who wasn’t invited to the party, even if they had another commitment and couldn’t make it.

It really is the thought that counts!

So, make your donors feel valued and send a personal invitation the next time you have seats to fill at an event. You can really “wow” an average donor by inviting them to your fancy gala!

READ MORE: Nonprofit trends for 2022 you should keep an eye on.

Download eBook: Donor Retention - Are you deserving of long term support?

Update on progress.

Your donors don’t have the same look into the day-to-day of your nonprofit’s activities as you do. Unless you provide it for them!

Touching base with donors just to let them know how you’ve been putting their last gift to work is a great way to help relationships grow.

It’s another quick touch in your strategy that reminds donors of the impact they’ve made and gives you another chance to say thank you!

So, consider compiling stories from your appeals, blogs, social posts, and first-hand accounts into an eNewsletter. This can serve as a regular impact report that reminds donors of the difference they continue to make.

READ MORE: How to show donors the impact of every donation.

A friendly phone call, without an ask, is a great way to grow the relationship between a donor and your nonprofit.

Pick up the phone.

If your donors will be excited to receive an unexpected birthday card from the organization, imagine how they will feel if you give them a call just to chat!

It’s always great to put a face (or voice) to a name. So, if your donors have only seen your development director’s name in emails and appeal letters, ask them to start making some calls!

A friendly chat, without an ask, can go a long way towards helping relationships grow between a donor and your nonprofit.

READ MORE: How you can tell a more donor-centric story.

You might not have to ask!

Each of the strategies we mentioned in this blog post are great ways to keep donors engaged and feeling appreciated in between your appeals. And when these kinds of communications flow, relationships grow.

You may even find that some donors decide to go online and donate on their own after receiving one of these messages.

When you build strong relationships with donors who feel valued, they may want to do more for the cause right away and see no need to wait for your next appeal!

Like what you see? Stay in touch!