Jan 17, 2014
Focusing on donors seems like intuitive advice for any nonprofit fundraising professional, but there are varying degrees of the lengths to which many charitable organizations will go to identify with the people who choose to contribute. Becoming donor-centric is more than simply looking at the people who support a specific campaign or those who consistently give as the most important aspect to fundraising. Instead, this perspective involves assuming the donors' position as they approach a charitable foundation.
Get the basics down
Some of the most important aspects of this approach is understanding contributors and using the data they provide in the most effective ways possible. Donor management software can go a long way in aggregating and organizing data resulting from sign-ups for mailing lists – both through direct mail and email – and participation in past fundraising campaigns. While this information can seem trivial from a broad perspective, getting donor information right is crucial to maintaining strong relationships, Fundraising Success Magazine supported. No one likes to see their name printed incorrectly or receive multiple copies of the same mailing.
Follow donors' cues
Going further, sending out appeals to someone who has contributed $30 on a monthly basis for the past two years asking for a donation of $300 per month will likely leave him or her confused and potentially disengaged with the nonprofit. Timing is similarly important, as a sending out messages asking the donor to participate a month after their previous contribution could do equal damage.
Think about this from the donor's perspective. If the nonprofit doesn't take the time to keep track of their donations and even their contact information, they will likely feel as though the organization only cares about their financial value. Donation management software will allow charitable groups to maintain clear, updated and organized records of donor information, so they can avoid either confusing or insulting contributors.
Another important step in taking on the perspective of donors is acknowledging the fact that they're likely pledging funds to more than one nonprofit. According to Contributions Magazine, donors regularly provide financial support to between 5 to 11 organizations annually. As a result, charitable foundations shouldn't take the position that people will donate exclusively to their cause and appeal for a giving level that would put donors in an awkward position.
To avoid damaging donor relationships and watching contributors walk away – as roughly one-third of donors do on an annual basis – charities and other philanthropic groups should work to take the perspective of the people providing financial support.