The Next Best Thing May Already Be Here


This post is included in the May Nonprofit Blog Carnival  You Are the Future of Philanthropy

All nonprofits want to succeed and grow.  You want more donors and more people to find out about your organization.

You hear a lot about innovation and finding the next best thing to accomplish what you want.  But sometimes we need to take a step back, and realize the next best thing may already be here.

Give donors the personal touch

We have lots of different ways to communicate with donors, many of them electronic.  Electronic communication can be great because you can get a message out to many people in an instant. But technology isn’t always our friend.  Often these electronic messages don’t sound like they’re coming from a human.

Some of the best ways to communicate with donors have been around for a long, long time.  Hardly anyone writes personal letters anymore, but imagine your donors’ surprise when they receive a personal, handwritten thank you note from you.   Another great way to communicate is to give your donors a call to say thank you.

In this age of automation, we need to be more personal.

Make retention and relationship building part of your fundraising plan

Most nonprofit organizations rely on fundraising for the bulk of their revenue.  It’s not easy to raise money, especially if you spend more time focusing on finding new donors than keeping the ones you already have.

You might think you can rest easy after a big fundraising campaign, but your work has just begun.  Thank your donors right away and continue to stay in touch throughout the year with donor-centered newsletters and other updates.

If you keep churning through donors and have a high attrition rate, you need to do a better job of building relationships. It’s not hard, but you have to work at it.  This link includes a quick way for you to figure out your donor retention rate A Guide to Donor Retention, and here are a few ways to build relationships with your donors throughout the year.This is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Your new donors are closer than you think

Of course, you’ll need new donors.  You’ll have more success if you reach out to people who already know you. Potential donors are your newsletter subscribers, social media followers, event attendees, and volunteers.

You can cultivate these supporters by communicating regularly and showing how you are making a difference for the people you serve.  If you do it well, you should have a good chance of getting them to donate.

Unfortunately, not everyone is interested in your organization. That’s why buying lists is not the best way to fundraise.  Find people who will be drawn to your work.

It’s also not enough to find people with money.  If you want more major donors, work with your board and other donors.  Connections always help.

Again, it comes down to good old-fashioned relationship building, something most organizations need to improve. 6 Ways to Get More Donors by Building Better Relationships

So before you search for that bright shiny object or jump into the latest craze, look at what you already have. The next best thing may already be here.

Photo by John Keogh

3 thoughts on “The Next Best Thing May Already Be Here

  1. Great post Ann. I always enjoy your thoughts. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of the personal touch and relationship building to develop a strong donor base. Thanks for reminding us of all the ways we already have to engage our donors and prospects. Cheers!


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