Our job as nonprofit fundraisers is to make donors happy. If we make their philanthropic journey successful, they will continue to partner with us. Their joy and impact will match the good we do in the world.
We like to describe a Philanthropic Journey as the path of least resistance to a donor's generosity.
Removing resistance to generosity takes work and planning. The key is focusing on the donor’s convenience and not your own.
Nine times out of ten, when you make something convenient for yourself, it means it became more complicated for the donor.
Resist the urge.
Focus on the donor.
Anybody can donate money to your organization once, but the real magic happens when you find a donor who is passionate about your cause and finds it easy to give. And then decides to give often.
It takes time, but it can happen.
Effective non-profit fundraising happens when you listen to your donors to learn what gives them joy. When your needs connect with a donor's pleasure, that's where real generosity happens.
A donor's philanthropic journey will have many twists and turns as they walk with your organization. The more comfortable you make the communications and the call to actions, the more they will enjoy the journey and continue to give.
Here are five tips to help you make their philanthropic journey enjoyable:
- Only ask for one thing at a time. If you tell a story and then ask the donor to select from a list of ten ways to be involved, you have just stolen great ending to a great story. Can you imagine the director of your last favorite movie giving you ten type of conclusions? There would be confusion and a sense of loss because you were expecting a logical and sweet end to the story. Instead. Confusion.
- Minimize the steps donors have to accomplish to give. If you are doing something online, make the donate button go directly to a giving form. Try no to hide the giving button behind three pages of information.
- Minimize the options to give. Guide donors to specific giving form based on your message and your request for a donation. Tailor your response devices or forms to a specific and unique request for donations.
- Personalize all your communications. Know your donor's name. Use it often. Send personalized thank you letters that refer to the donation and the impact it is making.
- Don't assume you know what donors think or how they will act. Test everything. Test your fundraising letters. Test your email subject lines. Ask your donors on the phone or in person why they give and what makes it exciting to give.
- Bonus: Thank Them often and creatively!
Just remember, a donor will love their philanthropic journey when it is easy to give to the things they love.