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How well do you know your donor?
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How well do you know your donor?

So you’re a nonprofit organization that has a hundred or maybe more people that donate to your cause. How well do you know the top donors or even your smaller donors? Sending out a newsletter is good and having an annual report is wonderful as well but this is all one way traffic i.e. from you to them!

How are you validating your donors and keeping them involved in your organization? Be honest, how many one on one conversations have you had with your major donors allowing them the time to talk? How about your board, have they said much lately?

One great tip I head from the professional fundraiser Gail Perry was that nonprofits need to take the time to seek out your donors and ask them for advice. In her words you “lesson” your way to a major gift. An excellent point!

I have to admit I have been interviewed many times by organizations that bring in a professional fundraising group from out of town. Normally they send someone by to see you and talk about the organization and the plan it has for growth. Typically this is prior to a capital campaign. Most of the time is spent with open ended questions allowing people to voice concerns and give honest answers, which is good. More importantly, however, is how staff and board members alike react and use this information. I think follow up is very important but sadly few have ever done that with me and kept me informed or in the loop.

Does your board member really have the passion for the organization or are they just bumping along in the board meeting waiting for that hour to pass? To help recharge their batteries take one meeting and go around the room and ask why each board member is serving on the board.

Sometimes you don’t realize the gas is on but the pilot light is out. You need to be the someone that helps re-light the fuse. No matter how long you have been volunteering or working as a staff member for your nonprofit organization we all need to be reminded from time to time why we are really here!

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.