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It’s easier to maintain existing donors than search for new ones. Nonprofit organizations are likely better off developing authentic relationships with the donors they already have, rather than constantly vetting new donors.

1. Create a database:

If your nonprofit isn’t using a database to keep track of its donors, now is the time to start. Nonprofits don’t have to use the newest technology to keep track of donors. Many nonprofits would do just fine using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to track donors. Information that nonprofits should consider keeping in a donor database includes:

  • Name, phone number, address

  • Personal info – children/spouse’s names, interests, profession

  • Charitable goals

  • Amount donated and dates of donations

  • Other organizations the donor donates to or is involved with

Every donor interaction should be reflected in the donor’s log. These logs will help fundraisers pick up on questions, concerns, and topics previously discussed with the donor.

2. Check in on donors frequently:

It’s standard practice to check in on donors, especially high-giving donors, about once every quarter. Communicate with donors about how frequently they expect updates. Some donors may prefer less contact while others may ask for more. Organizational updates to donors could be with a newsletter, an e-mail, a phone call, or an in-person meeting.

3. Develop meaningful relationships:

If nonprofits practice steps 1 and 2, then developing meaningful donor relationships will happen naturally. The relationship shouldn’t revolve around the donation – especially since most interactions with donors won’t result in a donation. Donor relationships really are about developing organizational friendships.

4. Thank you, thank you, thank you!:

Sending hand written thank you notes to donors after every donation to ensure that the donor feels appreciated for their gift. Notes to donors should express an accurate representation of how the donation furthered the mission of the organization.

For more help with donor relations, check out:

Podcasts: Websites

The Philanthropy Podcast

Nonprofit Hubcast

Nonprofit Ally

Nonprofit Optimist

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