Now I’m the first to agree with a thought that a client shared with other volunteers in the nonprofit she serves – the lesson that I’ve learned about fundraising is that you have to ask.
But we know from research that some donors feel that they are asked too often. I believe that being asked too often might not be the crux of the issue. Instead the issue may be that communications are all about asking. Communications don’t building a relationship between the donor and the nonprofit. Communications don’t tell donors about the impact of their philanthropy.
What’s a nonprofit to do? Consider sending a quarterly leaders’ letter.
What’s a leaders’ letter? It’s a simple tool – an informative letter, typically from the executive director, sent to a select group of donors (more about who and how to select in another post), that is designed to build a relationship between the:
Donor and Nonprofit
How does one build a relationship by mail? By sharing information about the nonprofit and the impact that gifts have on that nonprofit’s clients or the cause which it serves. Such a letter might focus on a little-known but important program that provides an invaluable service which is funded in whole or in part by philanthropy.
For example, a health clinic might be known for providing pediatric care. However donors may not know that the clinic offers educational sessions for children about how to brush their teeth. What’s the result? A decline in tooth decay resulting in fewer young children needing major dental work.
What’s another possible result? As was the case with one i5 client, a leaders’ letter which did not include any request for a gift, resulted in an unexpected significant gift for the program highlighted in a recent letter.
Will every letter garner a gift? No, it will not. The goal of the letter is not to raise money; the goal is to build a genuine relationship between your nonprofit and your donors. The goal is to educate and engage donors because those donors are more likely to continue to give, to give larger gifts some day, and maybe become a bequest donor.