Beyond newsletters

My last two blog posts have been about transitioning your boring, ineffective newsletter into something more “donor-friendly” and effective. Today, I will attempt to put a cherry on top of this “donor-centered” sundae, but talking about those things that non-profit organizations need to do IN ADDITION TO just mailing a newsletter. Again … I want to give credit where credit is due. Penelope Burk is the author of “Donor-Centered Fundraising” and she does a much more eloquent job of discussing all of this in her book.

So, after Penelope goes in-depth on her ideas on how to transform your newsletter into a donor-centered communication tool, she gently reminds us that our work is just now beginning. Briefly, here are some of her other thoughts (pages 104-108):

  • Use email to communicate with those donors who give you permission to do so. Talk about the IMPACT a donor’s contribution is making.
  • Use your website to post important information for your donors and demonstrate to the world how to be transparent and accountable. (See page 106-07 for Penelope’s website content ideas)
  • Visit your donors in-person and invite them to visit you and the programming in which they are investing.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told by resource development and non-profit professionals that they are hesitant to bother their donors because they are too busy. The next time you hear this from anyone, I encourage you to share this data quote from page 107 of Penelope’s book:

“72% of study donors have been invited on-site to one or more not-for-profits they support to see their work first hand. 77% of this group said that this is appealing and that the invitation is appreciated even when they are unable to go.”

It is true that we need to be respectful of our donors’ time, but we need to balance that with being respectful of their investment.

I will end today’s blog with a “tease” … tomorrow we will talk about which donors we should focus more of our energy on? In the meantime, please use the comment box below and weigh-in with your thoughts on the following questions:

  • What does your non-profit organization do in addition to a newsletter to inspire donor loyalty?
  • What did your last donor stewardship visit look like? Were there any surprising revelations or actions that came out of the visit?
  • When a donor has told you that they’re too busy to meet with you or visit your program, how have you handled it and made lemonade out of lemons?

We can learn from each other … please jump into the conversation.

Here is to your health!

Erik Anderson
Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847!/profile.php?id=1021153653

About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on July 12, 2011, in Donor-centered fundraising, resource development and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: