Building a better relationship with your charity donors

Charity donor development is all about ensuring that you and your donors get the most you can from your relationship in ways that are mutually agreeable and beneficial. It is the process by which, from their very first contact onwards, you can encourage and enable donors and supporters to make the maximum contribution they both desire and are capable of.
There are some specific ingredients to bear in mind when it comes to building a better relationship with your charity donors.

Saying thank you and acknowledging current contribution

Probably the single most important way of retaining people’s support and goodwill is to say thank you promptly. You have to value whatever it is they have contributed.

Listening and responding to what donors and supporters say

People rarely behave exactly as you planned or expected; mass appeals and campaigns generate responses, reactions and outcomes you did not anticipate.
Make use of your information systems to compare what various groups of supporters are saying, acknowledge what you receive, and act on it to refine future requests.

Balancing emotional commitment with awareness and understanding

People’s first donation is often prompted by an instinctive and emotional response to a direct appeal. Very rarely is it an informed or carefully calculated decision. Building on that initial response requires you to balance a recognition of your donors’ emotional investment with a need to develop their understanding and awareness of your cause and concerns.

Taking account of ‘external’ perceptions

How you support your current supporters is also an important influence on how you are perceived by potential new donors and contributors.
If you become known as an organisation that values its contributors, your chance of securing new donors increases.

Using ‘involvement devices’ sensitively and appropriately

It is unreasonable to expect donor loyalty to be built exclusively on the basis of ever purer forms of altruism. You cannot ignore the element of ‘exchange’ involved. There are many involvement devices that one can offer donors as acknowledgement for their contribution as an incentive to further support.

Transparency is key

Donors appreciate transparency. By providing annual reports, tax forms and charity goals will allow donors to feel more comfortable with the organisation which encourages higher contributions and support.

Provide opportunities for engagement

Your donors will vary in how they want to be involved with your charity. Another way of getting your donors involved which doesn’t have them reaching for their wallets is getting them to volunteer or including them in your next outreach program. It will be rewarding for them to see how their hard work pays off and what their hard-earned money goes towards.

Building better relationships with your charity donors is an important part of any non-profits strategy, especially as a technique to encourage your donors to continue supporting your organisation.
All of these ingredients help your donors feel respected and your organisation grow in stature. Once you’ve laid the foundations of these relationships you can continue to grow a strong and impactful organisation.

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