Ways-to-Connect-with-Donors Board Donor Ask Language Donor Communication Donors Fundraising Fundraising Success Leadership Relationships

Let’s get creative in ways to connect with donors — show your most loyal supporters how much you care about them.

Indeed, we all know it is much easier to retain donors than it is to acquire new ones. And you are less focused on acquiring new donors during this crisis.

A top priority in fundraising is to always love the donors you have. Show them how much you value them and appreciate their support of your mission.

Certainly, it is during crisis environments like now that you turn to your most loyal, committed, and appreciated donors. You ask for their continued support or a step up in giving if they are in a position to do so.

Not everyone will be able to give now. But not everyone has been devastated by this crisis. Allow donors to say “not now.” You are not to decide for them.

Likely you have been in contact with your top supporters during this crisis and sought their support.


Not all Donor Calls are Ask Calls

No matter where you are in engaging donors along the donor giving path, you must stay in contact with your top major donors.

No doubt, not every time you call on a donor is to ask them for a gift.

With that said, you want to do everything you can to make your donors feel and know they are cherished – especially and most certainly in unstable times.

Your major donors are your organization’s best friends.

In fact, many of your major donors are 55 years old or older, at home, and likely have had limited contact with others. That means this is STILL a golden opportunity to surprise and delight your donors with special messages of gratitude.


19 Ways to Connect with Donors

As we ease in and out of shelter in place, safer at home, and stay home orders, it is imperative to stay in contact with our major donors.

Here are 19 ways to connect and bring joy to our donors with meaningful interactions:

1. Send a “thinking of you” card or handwritten note

2. Have beneficiaries send handwritten, heartfelt notes of thanks to top donors

3. Have the board chair make personal calls to say thank-you to donors for their continued support

4. The development director makes calls to seek advice on matters appropriate for that donor

5. The executive director makes calls to share most recent updates

6. Spotlight donors in newsletters by telling their story of why they support your cause

7. To select donors, add personal, handwritten notes at the bottom of your print newsletter

8. Create personalized thank-you videos from you — the executive director, development director, or Board chair — for a recent and major contribution

9. Create 60-second, personalized videos from several of you taking turns saying thank-you to top donors

10. Repurpose donors’ stories and profile different donor on your website each month

11. Share donors’ stories on social media platforms

12. Send a greetable mailing.

13. Prepare and send a themed care package for your seniors staying in

14. Send wishes to your donors as appropriate the week of Father’s Day.

15. Don’t miss any upcoming birthdays! Give your most loyal donors a call ON their birthday

16. Send donors a Starbucks gift card with a save the date message that says “Can’t wait until we can have coffee together again!”

17. Milk Chocolate Day is July 28th — Send your top donors a box of chocolates with a special note of gratitude.

18. June 1 is Say Something Nice Day — Share with your donors you thought of them on this day and let them know how much you appreciate their support. https://fundraisingmaximized.com/donor-thank-you-calls/

19. Simply text, “Thinking of you during this time. I hope you are staying safe and doing well.”



Even if you have already reached out to your top donors, swing back around and check-in on them again.

Your phone calls, notes, or texts will brighten their day!

No matter how well you know your top donors, they deserve to hear from you. It doesn’t matter if you are new in your position or been at the nonprofit for a while, you want to strengthen your relationship with your top donors.

With these 19 ways to connect with donors, you will build stronger rapport and more loyalty from your donors.

Remember – not every phone call you make to a donor is an ask call.


FREE Fundraising Plan TEMPLATE

I know your world may still feel out of control and upside down…and you must secure funds for your organization to overcome any deficits caused by the virus disruption.

You need to secure large gifts. Most importantly, you need a plan.

To get going, download my FREE, Major Gift Fundraising Plan Template, click here.

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides overwhelmed nonprofit leaders of small organizations with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at [email protected].


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