The Importance of Donors Feeling Seen

A few years back I was giving a $1,000 annually to an organization because the mission is important to me.  That’s a big gift for me and I had given for several years.  When my granddaughter graduated from high school, I gave the $1,000 to thank a theater school that had been very important to her.  It was meant to be for only that one year.

I sort of expected to hear from the organization that lost the $1,000 asking me why.  Knowing that it isn’t an easy call, I looked forward to sharing my story.  I never heard from the fundraiser.  It was surprising not to hear from her but also surprising how I felt.  It seemed to me the $1,000 wasn’t missed.  While I continue to give I have not returned to the $1,000.

A call to chat about what happened with my gift would have felt good to me.  Yet, it feels the gift was small and taking time to talk with donors giving small amounts wasn’t worth it.  An email would have helped.  Some communication to let me feel seen.

This experience gave me insight into why donors who give $250 and less have stopped giving at a rate of 25% in the past 10 years. 

Has philanthropy become a place for only people who give 5, 6, and 7-figure gifts?  I now have greater clarity why renewal is only 30-40%.

As a result of my experience, I have created a process for donors to join the team as partners and recognize their commitment to the mission to inspire their desire to renew.

Here are 3 key steps to renew your 2018 donors:  

  • Invite donors into a partnership 

  • Inspire, belonging, and clarify their importance

  • Focus on the mission and its value to your community

Let’s not have donors feeling unseen and peripheral.  I wanted to renew but there was no connection or sense of belonging.

So I didn’t.  


Send me your questions. Let’s begin a conversation about building community with human connections, renewing donors, and meeting financial goals.  Renewing donors create a supportive community.

Email me at penny@renewablephilanthropy.com 

Step Four : 2017 Goal Increase Opportunity

Voicemail

So many times we make calls only to get the voice mail.  So let’s turn this into an opportunity.  Here’s a possible message:

“Hi, This is _______.  I am _______ at ___Name of organization________.  I am sorry that I missed talking with you today.  I am calling to let you know we appreciate your commitment to (mission) and your support last year”

“Since we haven’t connected with you this year I am calling to learn more about your interest in (name the mission) and if you would like to continue your partnership serving (name beneficiaries).  Lots can happen in a year and I want to catch up with you to learn more about your interest and your experience this year as a partner serving our community or to answer your questions.”

“If you are willing to have a short conversation please email me (email address) with some times you would be available for a call.”  

“Thank you so much for your commitment and caring for (mission).  We invite you to continue to share in the work.  I hope to talk with you soon.”

Keep it simple and recognize caring and meaningfulness of their commitment.  You do not need to talk about money specifically.

Step Three : 2017 Goal Increase Opportunity

It’s the third and final day of our challenge! Today you’re going to spend some time planning the calls and getting comfortable with the approach.

Here are some things to touch on during each call:

  • Invite them to tell you what they have liked about being a donors.  

  • Ask what they would like to know about the organization.

  • Confirm that the organization views them as partners with others within the organization, making programs possible for beneficiaries.  You want and need their continuing partnership.

  • Share a personal story. Creating human connection is best done through storytelling.

Remember to talk to the donor as a real person who care about the mission….as a friend…partner.  If they want to renew  their support they will.  If they feel you care about their experience ..they will respond.  You will learn why they haven’t continued their support.  

Make the mission and their commitment to it be the focus and reason for your call. Make the call friendly. Be interested and learn from them.

Step Two : 2017 Goal Increase Opportunity

It’s day two of our three day challenge and today we’re going to put some of your research into planning.

Schedule time to make 3-6 calls to donors per day based on the length of your list.

The goal is to connect with about 25 donors per week between now and new year. In 4 weeks that would be 100 donors! Think of the boost you can see to your goal and the mission by connecting with just 5 people per week. Each call should only last about XX minutes with moderate impact on your week. 

Planning the conversation will be important to help you feel comfortable and bring value to the donor. 

It’s ok if the first few calls feel uncomfortable, it’s a normal part of stepping out of the comfort zone! But after a few tries, you’re sure to find it fun and look forward to that part of your day.  

Step One : 2017 Goal Increase Opportunity

Welcome to the first step of the gift increase challenge! Here is your first action:

Make a list of the 2017 donors who haven’t given yet this year.

Prioritize the list based on how many gifts each donor has given.  Fore example, someone who has given 5 gifts would go higher on the list than a donor who has given 1 gift.  Count only gifts given in 2016 or later.

Learn as much as you can about your donors from this data. Make notes next to each person on the list if anything jumps out at you. Think of what you could learn from donors who already have confirmed interest in the mission.

It’s the Holidays with lots of Fundraising

It’s the Holidays with lots of Fundraising

Listening to holiday music, seeing happiness on children’s faces, and lots of Santas and I think of how fundraising fits into the season.

It is the time when our hearts are big and we want to participate, belong, and help make others happy.  We want to help.  Everyone helping and sharing to bring a little more joy in our lives.  When we share and see how we make someone happy…even for a moment, something in our heart moves.  Sometimes being generous brings a tear to our eyes.

Fundraising is at its best in this holiday season. 

5 Steps to Authentic Relationships with Donors 

5 Steps to Authentic Relationships with Donors 

Authentic relationships is key to success of a high number of donors renewing their commitment annually.

Donor renewal is reestablishment or continuation of the relationship with the donor.  The focus is with the donor recognizing their desire to join and help the mission and its beneficiaries. Donors report they will give more and more often if they feel meaningfully connected.

Reciprocity or Exchange for Giving

Reciprocity or Exchange for Giving

Foundation, business, or event funding have reciprocity or exchange for funding built into their support.  

Foundations ask for why you need the money to learn if the reason matches their interests and goals. They require follow up reports to be informed of the benefits of funding. Reciprocity is in knowing they supported a need in their community and met a goal.