CE Logo
Roses or Chocolate?
Every month is donor love month...

But because it's February, we thought we'd focus in on some of the many ways to communicate with donors and help them "feel the love."

As in most relationships, the key to donor satisfaction is good communication.  And, also like most relationships, the more carefully you listen, the better you can choose activities that delight, intrigue, and nurture donors' connections to your work.

Get to know the mind of your donor.  How?  By asking
them - through one-to-one conversations, small-group meetings, e-surveys, and every which way you can - why they give and how they want to hear about what their gift achieved.
You may find that Donor A is captivated by your Senior Chorus but not so by your childhood nutrition program - giving you critical information on what to invite her to experience from the inside (a dress rehearsal followed by tea with the music director and lead soprano). 

Whereas Donor B was impressed by how you pushed the City Council to pass new PreK legislation but isn't interested in your workforce counseling program.  Voila, he'll love the policy breakfast with your legal director and the City Councilmember most involved in pushing through the change. 
From Casual to Committed
Donors make their first gift to a nonprofit for a wide variety of reasons, some of which are because they admire your work, and some of which have more to do with who asked them (think honorees) - a special event that sounds like fun (the perfect pet parade) - serendipity (passing by a table at the neighborhood street fair) - or just plain clever marketing (the Ice Bucket Challenge).

Advancing from a first gift to the second one is an especially critical step.  Capture their attention, and with the second gift they'll become a habitual donor.  Fail to imprint, and you'll fall off their radar screen. 

February is just the month to reach out to new annual appeal donors - enough time has elapsed since their gift (and your immediate thank you) for you to "reopen the conversation" without the connection turning cold (or your seeming so eager it's perceived as pushy).

Sometimes even small gifts signify potential major donor prospects.  Some donors looking for a place to really invest will give once just as a "tester" - to see how you will treat them. 

The message?  Look closely at first-time givers, and use their first 6-12 months to strengthen their interest and connection to the organization. 

The good news?  They usually don't know very much when they've made that first gift, so you've got a lot of territory to explore together (just don't overwhelm them).
Keep Wooing Year-Round
When February is over and the Spring thaw begins, don't forget about your donors until the next ask.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but only after they're really yours!

Some ideas to keep them warm:
* March - Individual lunches with the executive director
* April - General email update with a personal message from a donor
* May - Invite to sit with board member at annual gala
* June - Donors asked for feedback on annual gala
* July - Invite to board/staff summer picnic
* August - General email collage of camp photos
* September - 1-1 "update and what's next" meetings
* October - House party friendraiser
* November - Email update to donors focused on impact
* December - 48-hour turnaround on appeal thank-yous
* January - Thank you notes from program participants
* February - Afterschool program creates donor valentines
And on and on. One basic rule of thumb - You Can Never Say Thank-You Too Much.

Nuff said.
Want more ideas?

Download this Cause Effective Tipsheet on Donor Retention drawn from the actual best practices of two recent Nonprofit Excellence Awards winners. 

And drop us a line - we live and breathe donor stewardship, and would be glad to throw around some ideas on how you can keep them once you've got them in the door.

Here's hoping that helping your donors feel the love keeps you warm till Spring - and all year long!             
Judy Levine 
Executive Director  
Cause Effective Around Town
Peer Learning, Board Trainings and more coming up soon...  

Don't Go It Alone: Effective Fundraising Strategies for the Small/One-Person Development Shop


Thursday, March 12

10:00 am -11:30 am

This workshop will provide staff in small or solo development shops with concrete steps to effectively leverage the people around them, do more with less, and create a development effort that motivates fundraising partners, maximizes results, and minimizes distractions.  


Two Breakfast Club alumni (see below) will share their personal success stories! 

Foundation Center:
Click here to register. 
The Breakfast Club:
A Peer Circle for Directors of Small Development Shops

Cause Effective is proud to announce the fifth year of its innovative collaboration with The Foundation Center. This monthly support group is a forum for directors of small development shops to share insights, gain practical solutions, and remedy on-the-job isolation and stress.

The Breakfast Club gathers monthly on Fridays, 9:00-10:30 am, beginning on April 10th.  The Foundation Center will supply the tea/coffee, Cause Effective the expertise, and you and your peers...all the rest! 


The deadline to apply is March 2nd.  Reserve a spot today! 
Invest in Good Work  
Support Cause Effective's commitment to the dynamism and diversity of New York's nonprofit sector. 
From the Cause Effective Blog:
Broadening the Base: Adding Up-and-Comers to Your Board

We've heard a lot about board diversity over the years.  But there's one element of board diversity that seems out of reach for many boards that are skewing older and older - that of age. 


Where are the board members of tomorrow?[more]

Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter
For over 30 years, Cause Effective has strengthened the nonprofit sector by increasing the capacity of more than 5,000 nonprofits to build sustainable communities of supporters.  We provide carefully tailored counsel to help nonprofits diversify funding, raise more money from individuals, activate boards of directors, and get the greatest value from anniversaries and special events so they can achieve long-term, community-based change.

To learn more, please visit www.causeeffective.org.