End of the Year Fundraising – Part 3 – Building the Relationship

In Part 1 and 2 we discussed cultivating and soliciting prospects, donors and volunteers using an integrated, multi-channel approach. All that hard work will pay off when you receive contributions, but it can’t stop there. The beauty of the multi-channel approach is you can reach many donors according to their interests wherever they are on the fundraising pyramid.

“Donors want authentic, one-to-one, personal contact that inspires and motivates them to support a cause.”
The Influential Fundraiser, Bernard Ross and Claire Segal

Donors/members/patients/alumni don’t view themselves in segmented fundraising piles…like we may as fundraising professionals. They don’t think of themselves as donors who give via direct mail or as members of the YMCA or a business school graduate.

We need to authentically engage with our donors, old and new, at the top, middle and base of the fundraising pyramid. Fortunately we have more tools today than we have in the past!

  • Thank you letter – Let’s not forget this tried and true follow up to any gift. However, you can still personalize these thank yous with notes from program participants, Board members and the Executive Director. Try segmenting your thank you letters to follow the message of your solicitation. And if the gift came through an online channel, a hard copy thank you is still in order. If you don’t have a mailing address, then the thank you should be sent via email. All within 24-48 hours of receipt of the gift.
  • Phone call – An old piece of technology that still works! Do you have SO MANY responses to your end of year appeal you can’t call every donor to say thank you? Enlist the help of staff, volunteers, interns and Board members. Donors want to hear from us, personally. Create a couple questions or conversation starters beyond, “I am calling to thank you for your gift.” Share a story, ask them to share a story. Volunteers calling volunteers, Board members calling their contacts etc. Make it personal. Keep notes and follow up.
  • Email series – So maybe you do all of the above. How about a three-part email series as a follow up to a gift:
    • Part 1 – Welcome and thank new donors. Thank and engage previous donors.
    • Part 2 – Ask them three questions – easy survey – share results
    • Part 3 – Engage them in advocacy, volunteering, your blog
  • Social networks– Keep them updated as to your progress raising funds for the program you told them about. Publicly thank those who have given – immediately give a shout out. Update Facebook, Causes, Twitter…whatever networks you are using.
  • Donor recognition – Update the list on your website. Prepare your next e-news for 45 days into campaign and list your end of year donors or point them to the website. Highlight donors on your website and in your e-news. Host a holiday party for donors.
  • Holiday cards – Send to donors, new and previous using hard copy and online methods including social networks. Personalize with notes, salutations…not just the signature of every staff member – honestly does not look authentic or like you cared. Be creative with your cards. Can program participants make the cards (better start now).
  • Send another solicitation – via hard copy and mail to those who didn’t respond to the end of year appeal.

What’s your best technique? Need some suggestions or an integrated, multi-channel fundraising program developed for your organizations. Send me an email Barbara@3Talisman.com!

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