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February 1, 2011 Cultivating Donors

Often times, we see organizations divide their donors into the “haves” and the “have-not’s.”  What I mean by this is, if a donor is not reaching a certain level of contributions, organizations often tend to overlook them.  Not meaning that they aren’t appreciated, they just don’t receive the recognition and bubbly personal thanks that the large dollar contributors receive. 

 I think this happens often out of desperation and in an effort to infuse much needed funds into a cause.  We know that it takes a lot of operating capital to allow researchers and service providers to continue their work.  Therefore, we feel that in order to effectively and efficiently use our development team; we should focus our efforts on those biggest donors.  However, is this really utilizing our team effectively?

 One thing I have learned as a Fundraising Consultant is that small donors can be cultivated into big donors.  We encourage our clients to, during and after major fund raising events; have staff and board members take the time to personally thank, those who even make the smallest contributions.  Relationships breed commitment.  With the current economic situation, donors are faithful to those whom they are committed to. 

 It is a great time to also welcome new faces to your organization.  According to Independent Sector, the estimated value of volunteer time for 2009 was over $20.00 per hour.  Think of the numerous hours of volunteer time individuals contribute to your cause or you wish would contribute to your cause.  This adds up to enormous returns.

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