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.

The renewal process recognizes the humanness of the donor. I refer to it as connecting with the donor in a real human-2-human (H2H) way.  When the donor feels seen, they want to continue their involvement.  The donor’s interest, gift, and experience becomes a partnership they want to extend.

Would you like to increase individual donor renewal? I encourage you to try some small experiments to create a more H2H experience for you, your donors and others in the organization.

Here are 5 suggestions to help create meaningful connections with donors.   

  1. See your donors. Emails, letters or conversations that don’t recognize them as donors makes them feel unimportant and unseen as people who care. For example, in sending email to a donor reference her as partner or on the same team.

  2. Use human-like and kind language like partner, share, invite, and join.  Donors will feel they belong and are connected to the work the organization is doing.

  3. See donors as people.  As humans we are wired to help. We will support missions we connect with and care about.  Thank donors for caring, their commitment and for being a team member in addition to their money.  

  4. Connect with the donor in a meaningful way for them.  Enable donors to connect with the mission in ways that matter to them.  Begin by asking the donor questions, like, why the mission is important to them or what they would like to learn.  Think like a donor in an empathic way, remembering they give from their heart.   

  5. Confirm the importance of their continuing support with stories that tell how the organization is meeting programs goals and serving beneficiaries.  You can also share challenges and disappointments.  Connect with the donor’s heart and not their money.

For the fundraiser and organization raising the money is a priority. For the donor, money isn’t what motivates their decision to make a gift.  

Donors give with their heart and desire. For donors it is the mission and how it serves beneficiaries and communities. Connect donors with an invitation to join in serving the mission as partners with other donors, leaders, and staff.  Both the donors and the organization are involved for the same reason… serve the mission.

Happy and fulfilled donors renew their donations confirming their commitment. High donor renewal rates enable a more sustainable individual giving program.  Please share your thoughts, questions, and advice to create a culture engaging a community for renewing donors.  

To learn more, contact me for a free session on how you can increase donor renewal in your program for individual donors.

Alison Castillo

Truth Design Studio, 136 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME, 04011