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Fundraising Tips

From Donor Strategies, Inc.'s Barbara L. Ciconte, CFRE, Senior Vice President, Consulting Services

What to Do Now to Improve Your Year-End Results

1.  Create a plan and 3-month timeline for communication, cultivation and solicitation activities.

2. Track results to date (dollars raised, number of donors).

3.  Do an analysis of your donors to find out:

  • who your top donors are (largest gifts, consecutive  years of giving)

  • where they live

  • what they give to

  • how they are asked (personal ask, letter, special event,  online, etc.)

4. Host a donor briefing for major donors.

5. Use print or e-newsletters this fall to report on results and outcomes, tell stories, use photographs and testimonials.

 6.  Regularly update website’s homepage – mission, call to action, engagement opps, gather email addresses.

 7. Conduct 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 appeal.

8. Recognize and honor volunteers at an event, in newsletter article or listing of names, and provide information on how to volunteer.

 9. Develop cultivation and solicitation strategies  for key donors and funders and schedule in-person meetings.

 10. Plan a specific appeal strategy for each donor segment – determine message, signer, use of matching gift or promotion of monthly giving.

11. Use a multi-channel approach (email, mail, telemarketing). Leverage online donor support through viral marketing – Tell-A-Friend links, tribute pages.

12. Hold 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 success

  • 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 donor-centered??

A Non-Donor-Centered Program

            Puts the organization at the center

                   Focuses on an organization’s own needs and why their  good work requires donations

         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 financial transaction

 A Donor-Centered Program 

  • Puts the donor at the center by using messages like “Because of your gifts…” and “Only with your gift can we…..”
  • 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 they want!!!


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