Turn Your Donors Into Your Fundraising Cheerleaders
Gooooooo Team, Go!
Believing leads to belonging, and your donors are some of the best cheerleaders for your cause or fundraising campaign. Think of them as your core external team, an extension of your development office. Tapping into this network of existing supporters is key for fundraising success.
People are more likely to give when asked by someone they know, trust, or respect. Because of this chain effect, these donors will increase their loyalty to your organization by giving and bringing new donations and support to your cause.
So, what are you doing to coach your champion team of donors to herald the news of your fundraising campaign to the masses?
When you show them some support, they’ll return the favor in the form of feedback—comments on potential donors, IDs for people capable of making leadership gifts, or individuals itching to make a difference. They’ll lead the charge in starting conversations with these folks, backing your organization through networking, and explaining why giving matters.
It’s time to rally your cheerleaders with these tactics from the winning playbook.
Donors can’t learn more about you unless you communicate your mission and vision to them. Keep your donors up-to-date with what’s happening with your campaign or development initiative and share news with excitement! Publications, emails, social media, direct mail, videos, reports, campaign microsites, brochures, infographics, and statistics, you name it…they’re great ways to share information.
In all communications, be sure to show the big picture, a clear view of how donors’ support will affect the bigger picture. What will funds make a reality? How are their contributions immediately and strategically implemented within your cause? Be specific. Break down what each campaign, donor, and donation can do. Consider giving stats like donor dollars in action to show exactly how a $20, $2,000, etc. donation will be used so they can visualize their impact.
Regardless of your method, consider using different materials for new donors, who are getting to know and trust you and need more information about you, and recurring donors, who might like to learn more about long-term projects and ways to volunteer.
In addition to all the info sources above, put all your great development swag in their hands, too. And we’re not just talking about printed materials, either. Give them the tools they need to make sharing your information with others easy, too.
Be clear with what you’re asking of your supporters, too. Make your instructions and talking points short and simple. When you simplify their process (and make it easier for them to understand yours), you make it easier for them to do what you’re requesting of them.
Have Fun with ‘Em
Not all elements of your fundraising campaign need to be serious. When your communications are personal and fun, it’s easier to recruit and motivate others to be a part of your cause.
Consider customizing communications and fundraising pages with your star donors’ photos, stories, and video. These personal touches solidify their relationship and recognition with your cause and make them appreciative and eager to share their involvement with more people.
Don’t forget to show your recurring donors how the fundraising campaign is going and how their own contributions are stacking up. Offer encouraging words of support and tips for being more effective. Or, consider a friendly competition between your MVP donors. Incentives, no matter how big or small, for the best campaigns or most dollars raised can drive participation.
Love on ‘Em
It’s important to thank each person who has given a gift to your campaign, especially with loyal, consistent donors. Those personal, handwritten notes cannot be underestimated. Donors who believe that their gifts are appreciated (every time they make one!) are more likely to continue giving than those who received personal attention one time but not for successive gifts.
Also arm your board members with notecards when they have a one-on-one convo with a potential donor (heck, even offer to drop the cards in the mail for them).
A little love goes a long way.
* Note: This article was originally written in 2014 and has been updated in 2018.
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