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20/20 Vision

by Christiana Stergiou

I’d like to share with you an inspiring response to the ‘Love your Audience‘ article. David McGovern from Catholic Mission shares his own approach to showing love for donors. Over to David:

Having embarked on a campaign I’ve called 20/20 (making significant, or meaningful, contact with 20 donors in 20 days), I found the challenges posed by this posting quite pertinent.

It reminded me of the adage that “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Although cited in management texts, I think it has a lot of relevance for fundraisers and the relationship we share with our donors.

For what it’s worth, these are the following ways I am looking to express my ‘love’, or appreciation, for our donors:

1. Having an attitude of gratitude – letting them know that we value them, and their support.

2. Treating them as partners in our ‘mission’ – we can’t do what we do without their support and they also need to feel they are making a difference.

3. Seizing unexpected opportunities to communicate with them – for instance, if I see an article in a paper, I consider which of our donors might like to read it and then pop it in the mail with a little (post-it) note, drawing it to their attention.

4. Identifying significant milestones – this is something I want to get much better at but if you can identify when donors first started supporting your organisation, you can acknowledge the milestones as they occur. For instance, we have 42 donors in the Brisbane Archdiocese in Australia, who have been supporting us for more than 20 years. My next goal is to come up with some appropriate way of recognising such loyalty.

5. As a lot of our donors comes from a ‘church background’, it also can be opportunity to engage with them at significant times of the church calendar. At Easter, I sent a number of donors cards wishing them a safe, happy and holy Easter, and thanked them for their support. No doubt there will be other occasions (besides Christmas) when I can interact accordingly. The challenge is to make such communications cost-effective, so that donors do not feel you are wasting precious funds ‘wooing’ them.

For what it’s worth, I sense that donor management is a bit like being in any sort of relationship: I am finding that it takes a lot of discipline to communicate with donors regularly (daily, weekly, monthly, annually). In this sense, it’s like being married or being a parent – you have to let the other person know you ‘love them’ constantly and ongoingly.

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