From Donor Strategies, Inc.'s Barbara L. Ciconte, CFRE, Senior Vice President, Consulting Services
What to Do Now to Improve Your Year-End
Create a plan and 3-month timeline for communication,
cultivation and solicitation activities.
results to date (dollars raised, number of donors).
Do an analysis of your donors to find out:
who your top donors are (largest gifts, consecutive years
where they live
what they give to
how they are asked
(personal ask, letter, special event, online, etc.)
a donor briefing for major donors.
print or e-newsletters this fall to report on results and outcomes,
tell stories, use photographs and testimonials.
Regularly update website’s homepage – mission, call to action,
engagement opps, gather email addresses.
a “thank-a-thon” to donors who gave last year but not yet this year
using board, volunteers, and staff before they receive year-end
and honor volunteers at an event, in newsletter article or listing
of names, and provide information on how to volunteer.
cultivation and solicitation strategies for key donors and funders
and schedule in-person meetings.
Plan a specific appeal strategy for each donor segment – determine
message, signer, use of matching gift or promotion of monthly
a multi-channel approach (email, mail, telemarketing). Leverage
online donor support through viral marketing – Tell-A-Friend links,
a staff meeting to discuss how all staff play a role in building
relationships with donors and identify specific ways staff can help
with fundraising that fits within their duties.
Creating a Donor-Centered Development Program
We hear a lot about donor-centered
development programs, but what does that mean?
A donor-centered program focuses on building
trust with donors. Trust that:
Donors play an essential, vital, central role to the mission’s
Worthwhile things are done with donor gifts
An organization conducts its operations efficiently
Think donor-centered = customer-centered.
Just as quality of service is key to
customer loyalty, the same is true for member, donor, prospective
member and donor loyalty. Members and donors should expect
courteous, timely, and attentive interactions with your
organization’s staff. Staff should take the time to listen and
understand what the person they are speaking with needs. This type
of behavior from the staff helps to instill confidence in your
organization among members and donors.
How can you tell if your program is
A Non-Donor-Centered Program
Puts the organization at the center
Focuses on an organization’s own needs and why their good work
Does not thank donors in a timely fashion
Does not inform donors how their money is spent
Focuses on money rather than donors by treating giving like a
A Donor-Centered Program
- Puts the donor at the center by using
messages like “Because of your gifts…” and “Only with your gift
- Thanks donors in a timely fashion
- Informs donors how their money is spent
in communications, calls, visits, etc.
- Finds out why donors give, especially
their first gift
You will be more successful when you stop
trying to get what you want, and start helping other people get what
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