How to build relationships with your donors

If donors were ATMs, then an endless string of asks would be an effective way of raising funds.

But they’re human. And that means they want some kind of relationship that’s on their terms.

Here are some great ways to build a relationship with donors from Clairification, at 4 Ways to Consciously Keep Donors Connected:

  1. Give donors the information they want. They mainly want to know if their donation will do (or did do) anything. And they want to read stories of the difference. And they want to be thanked. They don’t care that much to be educated about your history, staffing, and processes.
  2. Write emails that make donors FEEL something. Remember that charitable giving is an act of the heart, not of the brain. Tell stories and speak to the emotions!
  3. Write emails that makes donors WANT to hear from you again soon. Don’t just ask. Communicate. Connect. Tell stories, share (relevant) news. Give them value.
  4. Ask donors to take ONE action that’s about feeling more connected; not giving again, yet. Ask for advice. Ask for volunteers, invite them to a tour or presentation. Send a survey.


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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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About the blogger

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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