I have been a part of discussions where my peers are trying to figure out how to better engage Major Donors. Many discuss this about unique ways to show their appreciation for these donors beyond plaques, certificates and local press. In major accounts, we understood that our most successful clients were the ones that we engaged (as well as said Thank You) beyond the transaction. Here are 5 simple things I did from my time in major accounts that I believe can apply to major donors as well.
1 – You can never say thank you enough – I have stated this before in my blog, but it is always true. Nothing like a handwritten thank-you, or a simple statement next time you see them out.
2 – Have a 360 degree view – When you first met with your donor, hopefully you got to know about them beyond their interest in your organization. Understand their success story. What they do professionally. Their future plans. Research social media and connect appropriately. Know important dates like birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
3 – Become a resource – Just like any professional relationship, if you can assist them in there success, the relationship has greater benefit. Provide solutions that you have relationships with, whether it is plumbers, bankers, interior designers, or party planners. Refer them to other donors, and don’t forget to shared that you made a referral.
4- Engage them – Beyond remembering birthdays and anniversaries, discover their interest and invite them to participate with you. If you are going to a chamber event and think they may enjoy it, invite them to go with you. If you come across some sporting event tickets that you can’t use, but they might, offer it to them (where appropriate). Invite them to participate in volunteer activities with your organization to offer different perspectives. Don’t forget to have major donor receptions where it is just about people getting together and seeing their impact.
5 – Show the impact – A benefit of having donors volunteer, is it gives them personal experience with the impact of the organization. There is no better way to show the impact. However, there are great ways for them to see the impact of their donations in specialty publications, internal publications, and personal testimonials or Thank you’s that the organization receives. Sharing these pieces of literature that not everyone has access to with your major donors demonstrates their value.
You can combine many of these. For example, invite a donor to lunch at a new restaurant (recently opened by another donor) to enjoy lunch with you and someone who has been directly impacted by the services of your organization. I am sure you can be even more creative and engaging.