4 Simple Ways to Keep your Major Donor Relationships Sizzling During the Summer Months

So, you didn’t plan for an integrated summer campaign.  It’s not too late to take advantage of the lull of summer.  Use the summer months to strengthen your relationships with your mid to major donors by showing them some special appreciation. This will keep you at the forefront as you move into fall and your year-end appeal.

Here are four simple ways to share your summer with your mid to major donors:

1. Start with a Thank- a-thon. Have you ever received an unexpected thank you for something you did? What a lift to the spirits!

You can provide that to your donors with an out-of-the-blue thank you call. In today’s world, we are always being asked to do more, to give more. It’s nice to simply be thanked for what we’ve already done. People will appreciate it and they will remember you.

You want this thank you call to come as a surprise, delighting your donors. Plan one day or a series of evenings to call all your donors.

This is a great job for board members; it feels really good to just simply say thank you.

Start thanking your donors today.  It is a necessity. Not only does it help to strengthen relationships with them, but it’s also a great retention strategy. Your nonprofit will have a donor-centered culture that will establish trust and invites donors to continue on the journey with you.

Have you ever received an unexpected thank you for something you did? What a lift to the spirits!

2. Let them know how their gift was used. Your donors want to know that they matter. Send a follow up thank you, showing results. Be specific: why did their donation matter? What did it accomplish? Whose life was changed? The follow-up needs to be just as carefully crafted as the appeal and the thank you. DON’T ASK for more money yet! If you thank them with enthusiasm now, you should definitely ask again in a month or two – and if you do your job, they’ll be HAPPY to give.

 Consider creating a six-month Impact Report.  Send donors a report to relay the positive impact of their gift.  This report can be disseminated in a wide variety of formats and via print or electronic mediums. The elements should include client testimonies, messages of gratitude, and what you hope to accomplish in the next six months.   It should also include photos of clients.  The main photo should be a group of people whom your organization helps holding a big banner that says, “Thank You.”  This will light up your donor’s day.

 3. Deliver or send donors a gift. This is a memorable way to show your gratitude. A gift acts as a personalized reminder of how they helped your cause.

Pick a gift related to your cause or organization to keep your mission in your donors’ minds. Your gift doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. In fact, a thoughtful, simple gift can have more impact on your donorsA major donor once told me don’t spend money on a fancy plaque.  Instead, invest that money in the mission

 When possible, have your clients create handmade donor gifts.  Artwork, holiday wreaths, jewelry or any gift they can make.  After 10 years I still have artwork hanging in my home created by a youth in the afterschool program.  And yes, I still support them. That artwork reminds me daily of the great work they do.

 4. Requests their feedback & follow-through on what you learn. Donors like to tell you what they think. When donors share feedback, either positive or negative, they’re opening lines of communication with you. Feedback is an opportunity for your nonprofit to quickly engage with donors and, above all else, thank them for their input.

When dealing with a complaint, it’s important you resolve any issues within 24 hours. If you don’t know how to respond to a complaint, a simple three-pronged approach of “aware, working, and update” will suffice. This shows the donor that you are aware of the situation, you are working on the problem and will update them as soon as you know more.

If you can do these three things in a timely manner, it can go a long way toward making donors feel appreciated and valued by your nonprofit. Never forget to thank them for surfacing issues. It’s not a traditional thank you like you would normally send someone when they make a donation, but it’s important none the less.

Consider creating a donor survey.  It is a great way to let donors know what they think matters to you – and to learn a great deal about your donors.

Remember, the goal is to not make mid to major donors feel like an ATM!  A little appreciation goes a long way in building a relationship with your donors.

I hope this helps. Your feedback is appreciated. I would love to see how your nonprofit handles the summer slump.  Share in the comments below.

If you are a CEO or ED of a nonprofit organization and want to learn from me and others join the Supporting World Hope Facebook Group. 

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