Don’t Overlook Your Most Loyal Donors During a Crisis
Are you focused on your most loyal donors — not only right now during this crisis but always?
Consider it this way. . . .
Moving to a new community can be scary and daunting.
Picture talking with someone and they are looking over your shoulder. You recall that, right? They are pretending to be engaged. But clearly not hearing what you have to say.
I remember moving to a new community. It was a lost and lonely feeling. Being a newcomer in town, every introduction meant something. I was longing and hungry to make new friends.
But that feeling was not necessarily reciprocated.
I remember meeting Betty for the second time.
You know those moments in which you can remember exactly where you were standing, what you were wearing, and a defined feeling in the room? It is a snapshot in your mind. You know
what I’m talking about, right?
That snapshot is still in my mind with Betty.
In our conversation, she was not “into” what I was saying. Maybe for good reason!
Nevertheless, she was continuously looking past me to see who was coming in the door. The conversation was lagging. She was not interested in getting to know me, and I knew it.
In looking at philanthropy, I relate this story to how fundraisers often forget about their current donors — Metaphorically, your most loyal donors unseen standing right in front of you. At times, loyal donors are overlooked while fundraisers search frantically for new donors.
Your Most Loyal Donors
Here’s the thing, donors, especially major donors, are testing you to see how you treat them. And as important, how you use their funds to advance a cause they are passionate about.
During this pandemic, one of the most important fundraising strategies is to love the donors you have – all donors, but especially your most loyal major donors.
#1 – Your Most Loyal Donors Have Already Told You They Love You
If a donor parts with their hard earn or family funds, they did not make that decision on a whim. They believe in you – the leadership of the organization – and belief deeply in the cause.
They have told you so with their pocketbook.
#2 – Your Most Loyal Donors Have More to Give
Donors with the means to give, are passionate about the work you do, and have a giving heart are your major donors. They, like all donors, start off with smaller gifts to see how they and their gift is received.
Think of it this way: Have you ever bought someone a present and they responded with nothing more than a casual thank you or smile . . . or worse, no response? You’ve experienced that, right?
On the flip side, no doubt it feels great when someone responds with exuberance with an “Oh my gosh, where did you find this, how did you know, or I can’t believe you remembered!”
That same feeling you have when someone responds enthusiastically to a gift you give . . . is the same feeling you want to give to your donors.
Because you value your donors. And donors have more to give.
#3 – Your Most Loyal Donors Step Up in a Crisis
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported giving was up 7.5% in the first half of 2020! Incredible! That’s based on results from the widely recognized Fundraising Effectiveness Project Second Quarter Report (AFP, 2020).
In the article, Lori Hunter Overmyer, member of the Growth in Giving steering committee and chair of the AFP Research Council, goes on the say, “One of the most important things charities can do now is to build strong relationships with their supporters and encourage existing donors to continue to give when they can.”
Don’t Overlook Your Most Loyal Donors
In summary, donors are stepping up and giving in this crisis. The numbers are out!
And we also know that the time from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve is an important time of the year for philanthropists and nonprofits. It’s the giving season.
So now that we know giving is up during this crisis, get your fingers ready to make personal calls to your most loyal donors. Call those you have not heard from yet or maybe have more to give.
Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors 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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