Wondering what all the fuss is about – handwritten notes, birthday cards, special guest receptions?!?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou

Janet Hedrick sheds some light on donor relations and how small things can make a big difference in how you make donors feel:

Meaning of Donor Relations

  • Acknowledgement – private conversation with donor via letter, email, phone, note
  • Recognition – public component via award ceremony, event, donor wall, press release, annual report, small gathering
  • Stewardship – communicating impact of gift via reports, visits, conversations

Significance of Donor Relations

  • Acquisition is expensive!  We must focus on the lifetime value of the donor.
  • Competition is fierce between nonprofits!  Retain those individuals who are already involved in your cause.
  • Donors are savvy! They want involvement in the use of their gift.

Implementation of Donor Relations

  • Involve board, staff, volunteers, clients, and more!
  • Approach strategies for the long-term, not just directly following the gift!
  • Think bigger – donor relations happen everywhere, including: online, at the nonprofit, in the community, and at the donor’s preferred location!

Historical Transformation of Donor Relations

  • Shift from “cost to raise a dollar” to focus instead on “return on investment”
  • More attention on analytics, tracking, and use of technology
  • Incorporation of business-like strategies within nonprofit operations
  • Increasingly complex gift vehicles, pledges, and donor expectations

Today’s Perspective on Donor Relations

  • Be strategic and intentional – make a plan and stick with it!
  • Incorporate new technology – consider a video thank you!
  • Access professional development – books, articles, conferences!
  • Give donors an opportunity to tell their stories – not your version of it!

Want realtime updates and insights from the Association of Fundraising Professionals 2011 Conference?  Follow me @Jessica_Journey on Twitter.

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