As a part of our daily work we spend a lot of time listening to donors share their candid impressions of our client’s organizations as a whole; everything from the effectiveness of the staff and board to the way they are cultivated. Through the planning study, development assessment and capacity building interview process we learn a lot about donor’s expectations and we’ve found that there are many valuable takeaways when you examine cultivation and stewardship from a donor’s perspective. So, we thought we’d share some of the words of wisdom heard recently from the wide variety of donors we’ve spoken to.
- Ask me what motivates me to give.
- I want to know where the organization stands, and in what particular areas they are in need of help.
- Ask me about my preferred method of communication, and what my preference is when it comes to solicitation.
- I want to meet with someone from the organization twice a year, and perhaps do a site visit.
- I don’t ever want to be handed a gift proposal without having had a conversation first with someone from the organization.
- A personalized thank you note means so much more than a form letter.
- I don’t appreciate being asked to make an unrestricted gift to an organization and then receiving another ask a month later.
- Even as a longstanding donor, I like to get something personal every once in a while — a call to update me on the organization or to provide me with important statistics that will help me better tell the story and get the word out.
- It’s nice to have board members call donors every couple months to follow-up and simply thank them for their gift.
- I could do more if I were asked (i.e. bring people to events, talks to get the message out, etc.).
Interesting to hear the donor’s side of the story, isn’t it? Proof that it’s always beneficial to take time and listen to your donors. After all, as one donor simply put it, “It’s not just about writing a check, it’s about building a relationship” — our philosophy exactly.