Ways to Cultivate Donors

In July 2008, Karen Climer published 45 Easy Ways to Cultivate High-Value Donors

I’ve selected a few of my favorites below:

1. Send your donors birthday cards.

3. Send holiday cards.

4. Invite them on tours of your facility. Have someone who benefits from the organization’s work on hand to say thank you.

7. Have someone who benefits from the organization’s work write letters describing how the organization has helped.

9. When an article about your organization appears in the local news, send it to donors. Attach a note that says, “With your help we are able to help more students than we ever thought possible. Thank you.”

14. Add a handwritten PS to thank-you letters.

17.Give donors a direct number to reach you.

19. Send donors artwork created by your clients.

20. If you work with kids, ask donors to chaperone events such as field trips or parties.

22. Invite donors to events. Beyond galas and auctions, invite them to graduations, backstage cast parties, VIP briefings. Make them feel like they’re “in” on things.

23. After an event, send donors pictures of themselves with their friends.

24. Send a newsletter (at least quarterly) and annual report to keep donors informed.

25. Send updates about the fundraising status of projects (include photos and live webcam video of construction, etc.).

26.Send keepsakes from a major-gift announcement or event — memory books, albums, framed photographs, DVDs.

30. Ask your donors to read a draft copy of your case statement. Solicit their feedback.

32. Introduce donor to the leaders of the organization — board members, administrative officials and program staff.

34. Ask donors to host receptions or gatherings of select donors and prospects to promote the successes of the organization or to inform donors and prospects about the progress of a program.

35. Ask donor if they have friends or colleagues who’d be interested in your organization.

36. Join prospects at concerts, races, games, walks or other events when they extend invitations to do so.

38. Attend your donors’ events, such as office holiday open houses or the new branch ribbon cuttings. You expect them to attend your events.

42. Ask your donors to tell you their stories about your cause.

43. Bring donors along to the airport to pick up celebrities and other special guests for your events.

44. If the organization is given an award, invite donors to attend the award ceremony.

In what ways are you cultivating donors? Please share your insights…

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Want some guidance with your organization challenges? Email me, I’d be glad to help.


About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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