Monday, October 14, 2013

The Morning-After Call, or How to Connect with Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser Donors

In an article for Huff Post Impact, Gary Laermer offers "5 Ways to Land-- and Stay-- on a Donor's Top-5 List." Each point provides sound advice, it's worth a read. In the introduction, Laermer asks a critical question:
"if an individual donates in a passive manner -- like a friend's online personal giving page to support involvement -- can you really count on that gift being renewed next year?"
 Herein lies the problem with the new ways people give. Text-to-give programs offer little in the way of donor data for nonprofits (NPOs) to capture. When individuals give to a peer-to-peer fundraiser, they are basically supporting their friend more than the organization. Laermer offers five ways to help get on their annual giving list. Here's one more:

#6 Reach out individually.   

Think of peer-to-peer fundraisers as a great networking tool. It's like a professional networking event, where you are introduced to a lot of people, but it's up to you to follow up with them the next day. You don't send an auto-generated email to those people. You thoughtfully reach out to each on an individual basis. Your organization should do the same when casually introduced to new donors. 

Go beyond the printed "thank-you for your donation, this letter is your tax receipt" mailer. Hand-write thank-you notes and mail them separately. Even better, call these new donors! It's a great opportunity to thank them personally and it offers a chance to share with them the ways their generosity is helping the mission. Plus, it makes a great impression that they'll remember when they get a fundraiser ask in their mailboxes in six months. 

Relationships take time and resources, and many organizations (both nonprofit and for-profit) tend to want to cut down on relationship building efforts. But it's one area where every organization should be adding resources. In today's market, the competition is fierce and building good relationships with donors, supporters, and customers is the key to growth.