Court Your DonorsHow do you court your donors? Successful fundraising is a lot like a first date. You want to make sure you make a great first impression to every potential supporter you meet, and when you find people who are intrigued by your organization and want to learn more, you want to ensure that you’re giving them the best experience you can so you can continue to have a good relationship.

So how should you approach potential donors?

Ask questions. You want to learn more about the person you’re courting, and the same idea applies to donors. Get to know your supporters. Learn what factors drive them to your cause and why they’re interested in the work you do, and then cater your ask to what motivates each donor.

Pay close attention. You don’t only half listen when you’re on a date, so pay attention to what your donors are really saying. How are they responding to your donor experience surveys? What signals are you getting from them about your organization – what do they think is working well, and what do they think can be improved? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Don’t make any assumptions. You never know who is going to sign up for your event or how much someone is willing to donate, so treat a first-time donor with just as much respect as someone who regularly gives – they could become your next major donor.

Cater your message. When you figure out what your date enjoys, you cater the conversation and discuss those good topics to show how much you care. Figure out your donors giving habits and then segment them into different groups. Cater your conversation to those audiences – you want to send a very different message to a lifelong donor than someone who’s interested in learning more about your organization. Learn more about how to cater your message in this webinar by Event 360’s CEO Jeff Shuck.

Remember your manners. When a date goes well, you want that person to know. Donors are the same way. Always thank your donors for their time and after they’ve made a contribution to let them know how appreciative you are of their support.

Be consistent, not flaky. Don’t just engage with your donors when you are trying to raise funds – people connect with other people, not a faceless organization. Show your nonprofit’s personality by reminding them that they’re a crucial part of your organization. Check in with your donors consistently, and keep them updated regularly about your organization’s work.

Forming good relationships with your donors is key to being able to sustain your organization’s mission. Make sure you ask good questions, listen carefully, thank them for their time and continuously treat them with respect.


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