3 Questions to Better Donor Relationships

To get the best responses, you must know how to ask the right questions.

Smart businesses know that when they take the time to get to know their customers, they often become customers for life. The same principle applies to your nonprofit organization’s relationships with its constituents. There are certain fundamentals which can be used to improve any donor relationship.

In order to best serve your constituents and keep them coming back, you must:

Know your donor’s interests – WHY?

By properly segmenting your constituents according to their motivational interests, the likelihood of receiving a positive campaign response increases. Let’s say your organization focuses on inner city community development. Once you are able to identify donors and volunteers who responded to appeals about early childhood education, you can now create new efforts specifically targeted to those individuals.

How do you get to know and understand your donor’s interests? For starters, make sure your software can properly track and easily report all interactions with your supporters. Next, create a culture which prioritizes information gathering as a valuable skill set within your organization. Finally… just ask! Donors appreciate when you take the time to understand what’s important to them.

Know your donor’s capacity – HOW MUCH?

Most people in fundraising are familiar with the age-old model which measures recency, frequency, and monetary value (RFM) in giving history. While this can give you an idea of which segment a donor might belong in, it falls short of fully understanding a constituent’s capacity to support your organization.

To go from guessing to knowing, you must develop a system which allows you to gather, measure, and act on all the information available about your donor. In addition to their giving history, find out what other organizations they support. Perform donor research to determine their income and assets. And make sure to include different ways the individual has interacted with your organization such as volunteering or attending events. Then use this information to help shape moving each donor to a higher level of commitment.

Know your donor’s communication preferences – HOW? WHEN? WHERE?

Almost as important as knowing why your donor wishes to become involved with your organization is knowing how they want you to communicate with them. The last thing you want is for your loyal donor to associate your environmentally-friendly organization with cutting down trees to send them unnecessary letters.

Give your donors the opportunity to inform you of their communication preferences whether via email, phone, post, or even text messages. And make sure your technology properly records and informs your marketing appeals.

Knowing these key points about your donors not only helps your organization operate more efficiently and reduce churn, but donors will also greatly appreciate the improved giving experience.

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