You’re entering the busiest time of year in fundraising. Which means, so is everyone else. Everyone is bombarding your donors with their messages, their missions and their important news… In other words, you need to be different, better and more important to your donor than everyone else to ensure you get heard.
With that in mind, we want to offer you 10 ways to keep your donors at the heart of what you do, each and every day… Not for the sake of it, but because they really should be!
10. Read what you are working on – your letter, newsletter piece, email – aloud to someone who doesn’t know what you are working on. Make note of all the words, phrasing and timing that don’t feel write or that you’ll stumble over. You’ll change at least 5 things. Guaranteed.
9. Count the you’s. From the fundraising genius Tom Ahern. Count the number of times you say “you” in your piece. You should have way more references to “you” than to “we”, “us” or “ABC Charity”.
8. Make a promise – and keep it. In your next appeal, tell your donors you’ll report back to them with the outcome of the project you’re raising money for. And do it.
7. Invite personal contact – and mean it. Put your name on a thank-you letter or email. Ask your donors to connect with you directly if they have questions or would like to speak with you. (Please – no more firstname.lastname@example.org!) Better yet, pick up your phone and call and thank a donor. It’s infectious.
6. Fall in love with Gary. Gary the Donor – the imaginary friend created by Good Works – is great for bouncing things off. Are you connecting with your donors’ mind, heart and soul?
5. Rewrite your thank you letters and thank you call scripts. Find the time. It’s worth it.
4. Use your heart. Your donors deserve your love. Show it.
These last 3 we call the Kimberley MacKenzie trifecta. She does all of them (and some of these others above) every single day. That’s badass.
3. Put a picture of a donor – or a letter from a donor – on your desk or post it on your wall.
2. Put an empty chair in your meeting room and imagine you have a donor in the room with you. It will change lots of what you say and how you say it.
1. Look through your mail every day for 2 weeks. Read the little notes donors write on your coupons – the good, the bad and the ugly. Respect the shaky handwriting. Remind yourself that you are in a conversation with your donors – you’re not just broadcasting.
As a final note – in the header we used the heart from our logo. Most people assume it is a clever way of showing a “o” for “of”. The smarter ones assume it represents our love of the sector, our clients and ultimately the very fact that we are in a industry of sharing and showing love… and they aren’t wrong. But the real reason is to remind us who really matters and is at the heart and core of everything we do. Do I really need to say who?
P.S. This “Top 10” was inspired by a terrific series by Josh Bowman, 10 things I’ve learned. Thanks Josh!
EDIT: special thanks to Agent Clare McDowall for sending us in this missive from the field! “On the board and highlighted!”