March 08, 2018 How Connected Are You to Your Donors?


A trusted family friend…?

That’s just how connected you want to become to your nonprofit’s donors and volunteers. And just because you’re a “good cause” and have mission impact, that won’t get you to that special status. There are soooooo many great causes out there. It’s overwhelming.

So how do you connect?

The key really is to start by understanding what inspires them and connects them to your cause and impact. It’s all about THEM – not you. I hear fundraisers that talk at people, throw statistics to them and are not taking the time to truly establish a connection based on understanding. Stephen Covey’s famous quote is especially relevant to fundraising and philanthropy professionals,

“Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood.”

It’s all about communicating, listening and relationship-building… family style.

Learning who your donors are is your most important step.

Why do they give to you? What do they care about? There are many ways you can achieve this, and some go right into your communication plans. Soliciting information by phone, through surveys, after events, social media, blogs, and more. The key is to connect with them as human beings FIRST. What can you do to learn and connect at a deeper level with your donors? What might you know about them if you were sitting together at a family dinner with them?

Get Really, Really Curious.

Ask Questions. More Questions. And Even More Questions.

  • What first inspired you to give to us?
  • How did you learn about us?
  • What did you find out about us that made you want to know more?
  • I see you’ve volunteered with us, tell me about your experience?

Seek to understand – and listen carefully. You are also building trust and confidence in this process. Tell me more? Tell me more about that? This respectful connect will tell them that you are much more than an ATM.

When you listen carefully to what they tell you, you can then begin to create interactions and communications that are relevant, thoughtful and meaningful to them. These connections, between when you do ask for money or time, are most important.

Treat them like the special member of your family that they are or plan to have a family “reunion” with them soon!

What are your favorite questions to connect with donors to add them to your family?



Download the Donor Analysis Worksheets




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