Most salespeople know that it’s easier to sell more to an existing customer than to get a new customer. The same goes with fundraising for nonprofits. It’s easier to ask established supporters to give more than to sell a completely new individual on your organization—and get them to give.
Establishing long-term relationships with donors and supporters is one of the keys to successful fundraising. And like anything worth keeping, they take time to build. Each interaction with a potential donor is a chance to grow that relationship.
- Event attendees
- Friends of volunteers
- Community members
- Board member friends and families
How to Grow the Relationship:
Ask questions. Ask volunteers why they’re there; what drew them to the organization. At events, ask attendees why it was important to them. You may hear that the cause wasn’t important, but they were there for the silent auction; or the food; or because they were coerced. Whatever the reason, you can build upon it. The idea is to get to know your donor base better—what they like; what’s important to them. And asking questions makes people feel valued, too.
Tell your story. At every opportunity, repeat the story of your organization, its mission and its accomplishments. And find new ways to do it. Keep the story short, and make sure it is meaningful. Give examples of real people that have been helped by your organization.
Make the ask—it’s as simple as that. If you don’t ask for donations, it’s not likely that donors will just send you money—but they will respond if they believe in the cause and know that you need support. And make it easy for donors to give. Include self-addressed envelopes with fundraising letters. Add a “donate now” widget to your website or blog.
Building real relationships with donors isn’t difficult—it takes time, but it’s vitally important to your fundraising efforts. And, it can be one investment of your time that really pays off!