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January 7, 2020 Hey, Nonprofits – Is Your Fundraising for 2020 “Donor Centered”?

As I work with our nonprofit clients, I find it more and more important to encourage them to focus on their donors. Yes, auction items are important for the Galas, but if you don’t have the right people attending – guests who are passionate about your cause – you are certainly missing the boat.

I have been fortunate to attend several conferences where Penelope Burk spoke. If you’ve never heard of Ms. Burk, you need to find out what she’s about. Penelope has written several books that are a MUST-HAVE if you are a nonprofit. One of her books, Donor Centered Fundraising,  addresses what donors really want regarding communication and acknowledgement from the charities they support, instead of what the nonprofits think they want. Penelope’s information is all data driven, and it’s invaluable for any organization raising funds for their mission.

Donor development is more than inviting your donors to an event and asking them for money. And it is more than sending a thank-you note or a magnet with your nonprofit’s logo for their refrigerator.

Communication is key for your donors, which is why you should communicate with them within 48 hours of their donation to your charity. This can be as simple as a phone call from your leadership thanking them for their donation. Because this timing can be a challenge after a large fundraising event, you should consider dividing up the donor list among your leadership event night after everything has been settled or emailing the list first thing the following morning. No, the work doesn’t end after the party. You may ask, “What if I can’t get the donor on the phone? Is it okay to leave a voice mail?” According to Penelope, that is absolutely alright. The message can simply be, “Thank you for supporting us at XXX Gala last night. We really appreciate you!”

Donors also want to know specifically how their money is being used after they have donated. If you are conducting a Fund-A-Need during your event, more than likely you share how donations will be used. But your supporters need more. 90 days after your fundraising event, reach out with a personal phone call or take your top donors to lunch and let them know specifically how their money is helping your organization. Share with them stories of the lives their donation has impacted or the impact of any items that were purchased to help with your important mission. Do not ask for anything. Think of the impact that will make! After these touches, continue sending newsletters and email blasts to your donors to keep them up-to-date and connected to your nonprofit.

This communication will pay off greatly when you are preparing for next year’s Gala because the groundwork that you’ve laid over the previous months will make it much easier to ask for financial support from these donors.

C King Benefit Auctions can help you with donor development and/or your fundraising auction event. We’d love to schedule time to talk with you so please reach out!

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