Five Ways to Love Your Donors

You love your donors. But are you telling them how much you love them?

When only 46% of donors are retained on average across the nonprofit sector, it’s time to wake up and realize that too often, donors don’t feel valued (SOURCE: AFP’s 2016 Fundraising Effectiveness Project Report).

Tammy Zonker’s presentation at Bridge about the 5 Donor Love Languages provided some great ideas for showing your donors how much you love them—and why they should love your organization back.

Your supporters want to feel like they’re making a difference in the world. Here are Tammy’s five ways to help them feel the love:

1) Hands-on Service: Even if you work for an organization with client confidentiality concerns—like a domestic violence or child abuse organization—there are opportunities for your donors to volunteer and make a tangible difference. For example, at Bridge, we enjoyed stuffing back-to-school backpacks for students at a local charter school. It was a fun way to make a difference—without worrying about background checks or confidentiality issues.

2) Words of Affirmation: Handwritten notes and gratitude phone calls are a quick way to your donor’s heart. Why not block time to write five handwritten notes each week so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?

3) Tokens of Appreciation: Gifts to donors should be personal and mission focused. Consider framing event photos of your donors, having beneficiaries make crafts for them, or sending special gifts (like picture books about philanthropy or your particular mission) to donors’ children or grandchildren.

4) Quality Time: Make sure to spend time connecting with your donors in person whenever possible—whether during one-on-one visits or at events. Tell them stories about the difference their support is making!

5) Proof of Impact: Keep donors informed about how their gifts are going the distance. Impact reports, newsletters, and personal communications are all opportunities to show your donors that they are truly changing lives.

What are your favorite ways to show your supporters—from the biggest major donor to your generous direct response donors—how much you love them?

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