5 Actionable Tips for Building Donor Relationships in 2022

Sam Shepler • Mar 17, 2022
building donor relationships

Cultivating a long-term, cordial relationship with donors and prospects is essential for your nonprofit. Donor prospects will support your cause if they have an emotional connection to it. If your charity organization has a good donor relationship management strategy, you can earn their trust. Then, they will be more likely to get involved and contribute to your nonprofit. 

This article suggests five tips to help you build strong donor relationships, improve your donor retention rate and attract new supporters. 

1. Keep Your Donors Informed 

Maintaining honest communication is key to any relationship. In the context of fundraising, it’s all about being transparent with your donors by keeping them informed regularly. After all, donors give their money based on empathy and emotional connection with your organization. 

They need to know how every fundraising campaign goes, whether you have managed to collect the desired amount, whether they can contribute further, and so on. Here’s how you can keep your donors informed and nurture long-lasting relationships with them:

a. Share success stories and photos

Whenever possible, take pictures and collect success stories to show your supporters the outcomes of their efforts. There’s nothing more rewarding to a donor than to see or read about the fruits of their support. That could be a photo of a happy person who has managed to combat a deadly disease or a rescued animal that is thriving in its new home. 

It could also be an emotional, impact story about how your nonprofit organization helped transform the life of a certain individual, plant trees, find homes, and jobs for war refugees, and more.

b. Send annual reports and news via email newsletters

Statistics, reports, and news via email give credibility to your organization and build trust among donors. It is also another way to make your supporters feel like important members of a community. 

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c. Share daily updates via social media 

It’s important to know where your supporters “live” online and reach them on a regular basis. The easiest way to do so is to use social media to further engage and inform donors via daily updates, questions, and motivational quotes.

2. Use CRM Platform to Manage Contacts Easily

A proper CRM platform can help your nonprofit build stronger relationships with your supporters as it saves you time, allows you to collect data, and personalize the communication with them. 

CRM platforms designed for charities usually have plenty of specialized built-in tools to help you manage multi-channel communication, automate processes, set and track goals, and manage campaigns and donation accounting. They also provide data-driven analytics and reports, reduce the administrative work and give an objective and clear picture of your supporters and the overall state of each campaign. 

3. Use Video Testimonials to Boost Trust 

In times of remote communication and distance relationships, individuals now more than ever crave to see and hear authentic human and even animal reactions. On-site testimonials can make that happen.

Record video testimonials from beneficiaries, community members, or volunteers and show your donors the impact of their contributions. Share these videos via social media, e-mail, YouTube, and other nonprofit marketing channels. 

Video testimonials can have a high impact on your donors and prospects—they can foster empathy, show how you manage your supporters’ donations, and stimulate prospects and existing donors to continue helping your cause. 

In addition to on-site testimonials with end receivers, however, you can record short videos with some of your donors who explain why they joined your cause, why they trust you, and how they feel about your organization’s impact. Again, such content boosts a feeling of belonging and satisfaction among prospects and existing donors and helps you build stronger donor relationships.

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4. Ask Your Donors for Feedback

Show your donors you care about them by asking them for feedback via instruments such as donor surveys, polls, and reviews (ratings). However, remember that your backers are not research targets but benevolent human beings. 

When you ask them about their opinion or advice, do it warmly, and more importantly, keep the conversation going. If you initiate a feedback process but fail to listen afterward, your donors may decide that you don’t care about them, and you may even lose them. 

As pointed out by I Market Smart experts, if you don’t have a wholesome, personalized follow-up strategy that will engage your donors over time, it’s better not to survey them at all. Following up will show your supporters that you listened carefully and you actually care about their opinions.

That being said, here are the three most popular methods for gathering feedback:

  • Polls provide the quickest way to gain insight into a specific question
  • Reviews and ratings allow for unstructured feedback on an idea, product, or experience
  • Surveys help build a guided feedback form

Obviously, surveys provide the most colorful and detailed donor feedback, but they shouldn’t be too long and should be written sharply (as in “not misleading”). Also, make sure to ask questions that are focused on the recipient, not on you. For example, ask your supporters which aspects of your campaigns they value most.

5. Keep Your Donors Involved

What better way to keep your donors involved than organizing special events and even online meetings? Take the time and effort to cultivate and sustain an event culture within your organization. In fact, events should be a crucial part of your communication strategy, as they facilitate face-to-face activities and nurture a warm, long-lasting relationship with your donors. 

a. Special “donor appreciation” events

Host events that don’t sell tickets but simply emphasize the importance of keeping your donors happy. These exclusive gatherings are known as “cultivation events,” as they highlight your organization’s mission in a prolific way while bringing the potential of sparking additional interest.

b. Online meetings 

Regular online meetings create a healthy habit of dialogue and sustain steady relationships. Conference calls are easy to set up and will keep you posted on how your donors feel. Make sure to ask questions and collect simultaneous feedback on day-to-day topics. Don’t forget that feedback is one of the keys to a successful donor relationship!

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Get a glimpse of how Keela’s donor management system can help you develop better relationships, retain donors and raise more for your cause.

Building and nurturing long-lasting donor relationships is just like building any relationship with any human being. Listen to them, ask them for their opinion, keep them informed, and demonstrate your appreciation on a daily basis. Use technology to record heart-warming videos, better manage contacts, and  collect data that will help you see the “big picture.”

Sam Shepler is the founder and CEO of Testimonial Hero

About the author:

Sam Shepler, founder, and CEO of Testimonial Hero

Sam Shepler is the founder and CEO of Testimonial Hero. 150+ B2B revenue teams at Google, UiPath, Medallia, InsightSquared, and many others use Testimonial Hero to easily create customer videos that engage prospects, reduce friction in the sales cycle, and drive more revenue faster.