There’s more to fundraising than raising funds

Relationships that are only about one thing tend not to last. This applies especially to our relationships with donors.

So don’t let asking be the only thing you direct at donors. Include these other things in the mix:

  • Thanking donors for their gifts. Do it in the receipt. Do it anywhere you can. It’s maybe the most important thing you can do to keep donors on board. Thank them after a successful project they gave toward. Thank the after a strong year or season. Dream up cool reasons to be thankful, and let donors know.
  • Reporting back what their giving accomplished. A newsletter is the key place to do this, but look for other ways.
  • Asking for things other than money. Volunteer opportunities. Events. Advocating your cause. Telling friends.
  • Just being nice during the holidays, or on donor milestones, such as the anniversary of the first gift — send a special thank you.

By no means should you feel bad about asking. Asking and giving are the main medium of your relationship with donors. But always do more than ask.

Think of what happens with your donors as a relationship — a real human relationship. You can’t go wrong.

This post first appeared on April 20, 2010.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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