What Dogs Can Teach Us About Donor Loyalty

This post is included in the May 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival

I’m not a dog owner, but I know a lot of people who are.  People like dogs because they’re loyal and make great companions.
You may have never made a connection between dogs and donor loyalty, but there is one.  Read on to find out more.
Dogs are excited to see you
Most dogs are social and like to be around people.  They’re usually excited to see you after you’ve been gone all day or maybe if you’ve just been out of the room for a few minutes.
Are you excited to see your donors?  Are you excited when they give you a gift, especially the first one?  New Donor Welcome Kits | Your Next Gift Strategy  Do you shower them with attention and gratitude?
Do you send a heartfelt thank you letter that starts with You’re incredible, or do you send the same old boring, generic letter? By the way, dogs don’t wait to show their affection and neither should you.  Thank your donors right away.
Dogs give you unconditional love
Dogs are usually there for you no matter what. Can you do the same thing for your donors?
Your donors shouldn’t hear from you only when you ask for money. And, don’t wait for a donation before you say thank you.  Say thank you a lot –  at least once a month.  Create a Thank You Plan
Dogs need attention
I like dogs, but we don’t have one because we can’t give it the amount of attention it needs. 
Dogs need attention.  They don’t like to be left alone for a long time. They need to be fed and taken outside to do their business, and when they aren’t, well, it’s not pretty.
Your donors also need attention. They don’t like to be ignored either.  Find ways to stay in touch throughout the year. Don’t Let Your Donors Pack Up and Leave 
Dogs need consistency
Dogs need to be fed and taken outside on a consistent schedule.  Donors like consistency, too. Be consistent when you communicate with your donors.  Perhaps you’ll send a quarterly print newsletter, a monthly e-newsletter, and share other updates once a week.
Dogs are curious
When we take my mother-in-law’s dog for a walk, she’s always checking out her surroundings, possibly looking for a squirrel to chase.
Your donors are curious too.  They want to know what you’re doing.  They donated to your organization because they’re interested in your work.  Share engaging and enlightening information with them.
Dogs want to be part of a community
Dogs want to feel like they are part of your family, and usually are.  Your donors should feel like they are part of your community or family, too.
Dogs are not loyal if you mistreat them
If you ever run across an aggressive dog, it’s probably been mistreated.  You need to treat you donors well, too. If you don’t, they won’t bite you, but they probably won’t donate again.
However, if you are loyal to your donors and treat them well, they should treat you well in return.

Photo by Steve Pollock https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

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