How To Grow Your Donor Base
There are two ways to grow a donor base. One is through hard work. Knock on doors, send emails, and meet as many new people as you can each day. The other is easy. Let someone else do it.
| Posted in Fundraising on Oct 5, 2010 by
|| 1 Comments |
Option 1 is hard work. Here is the irony with that. Do all of that hard work and you still have a lack-luster donor base. They give. However, they seldom give generously. They are satisfied but satisfied is different from passionate. Over time, they may become loyal but it is more of a habit than an emotional connection.
If you let someone else do it, the results are better. The donors will be engaged. They will give generously. They will be beyond loyal, they will be passionate. Their passion will drive them to recruit others. They will do your work for you. The donor base will grow while you do other things.
Who is this miracle worker and where can I find one? The good news is you already have a core group of them. Better said, you have a potential core group of them. The work you need to do is transform them from potential to actual.
The transformation work is hard but easier than option 1. It is time consuming but faster than option 1.
There are three simple steps in the transformation process:
- Review your donor base and identify the donors who are mostly likely to be passionate about the mission.
- Meet with them as a small group or one-on-one and discuss the mission from their point of view. What parts do they care about? Why is it important to them?
- Build their understanding of what is happening, the results that are being produced, and how lives are changing because of the good work your organization is doing while it is serving the mission.
Do the preceding well and the transformation is complete. It is now time to ask them to introduce you to their friends who are likely to appreciate and value your mission. Now who is knocking on doors, sending email, and calling people?
The majority of the people you motivated the passionate donors to introduce you to will be prequalified and talking to you because they caught the vision from their friend. All you have to do is start the transformation process with step 2. Once you complete step 3 you will have a passionate generous donor and a new referral source. You are ready to send them out and start the process all over.
Some of the people you sit down with in step 1 will be reluctant to assist. They may lack the passion for the mission. If so, it is easy enough to thank them for their time and move on to more passionate individuals. Some of the others who are reluctant to assist may be sending a subtle message that your process needs a little polishing.
- Stop recruiting donors
- Search for the ambassadors you need in the donor base you already have
- Train your ambassadors
Just like any group of ambassadors, yours will need periodic training (updating on what is new in the mission). It keeps their passion going to have it fueled periodically with new information. This is a one-on-one or small group process. Mass emails are like throwing paper into a fire. The fire burns bright for a moment but it lacks the fuel to keep going. Face time with the ambassadors is the same as putting logs on the fire.
Sustainable fundraising is built on a growing base of passionate individual donors. Sustainable fundraising is a major part of the foundation of a sustainable organization.
How many donor ambassadors can you empower before year-end? How much is that likely to increase your year-end appeal?
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