Supporters tell you a lot about themselves through their online interactions with your organization. Too often we ignore this valuable information and continue with our one-way communication approach. In today’s fundraising environment, effective communication depends on having a two-way dialogue — and that means “listening” to what your donors are telling you through their online interactions and treating them as individually as possible.
Quick Tips to Successful Donor Cultivation
- Take the time to get to know your supporters and customize their experience. Use one-on-one marketing via segmentation. Direct marketing does not have to equal mass marketing.
- Take a donor-centric approach across all fundraising channels. View your programs through the lens of the donor rather than the lens of the marketer.
- Integrate all fundraising channels. Don’t look for channels to replace (online giving vs. direct mail). Look for them to complement each other.
- Create the right audience and the right mixture by integrating when appropriate and innovating when needed.
- Look at your data to find out who your best donors are and then invest in them.
Is Fundraising All About the Money?
Kay Sprinkel Grace, renowned speaker, writer and thinker in the field of philanthropy, would answer that question, “Absolutely not.” She writes, “People do not give time and money to organizations because organizations have needs. They give to organizations because organizations meet needs. Fundraising is not about the money. It’s about relationships.”
I am sure most of you agree fundraising is about relationships. The problem is probably not that your nonprofit doesn’t want to cultivate relationships. More likely the problem is that your nonprofit doesn’t have a lot of tools and resources to dedicate to developing those relationships. But you can, using tools and resources already available to you. So how do you begin? You start by “listening” to your supporters and then build a “dialog” with them based on their needs and interests.
Two communication experts, Chuck Longfield, Chief Scientist at Blackbaud and Craig Zeltsar, Principal and Co-Founder of NNE Marketing, have some great “listening” techniques and strategies. Explore how you can gain a better understanding of what your supporters are telling you and how you can build on that information to inspire donors to invest in your organization.