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Remember Your D-O-N-O-R

By David Workman


Looking to change the world? Of course. That’s your calling.

But you’ll need funding. Which means you’ll need donors.

It may seem elementary, but the fact is, many fundraising programs consider the donor last instead of first. If you keep the focus on your donors, your fundraising will be more effective.

What does a DONOR-focused fundraising program look like? Here are some ideas…

D: Data

  • Your data files are key. Keep your mail and email lists clean by maintaining data entry integrity across your organization. When you spell the donor’s name wrong or fail to reference the giving group she chose to be in, you send an accidental signal that says “We don’t really care about you as a person.”
  • Run your lists through industry cleaning services like National Change of Address (required every 95 days for nonprofit mail) and Zerobounceback.
  • Know who your best donors are by analyzing their RFM (recency, frequency, monetary). You may be surprised, but the donors most likely to give are the donors who most recently gave.

O: Offer

  • Make sure you have a compelling offer in your campaign. Your donor cares much less about your organization than the impact you make.
  • Tell “The Story of the One”: a specific person the donor can help, or has helped, by being involved with your ministry. Show donors how they can make an immediate and tangible difference for the Kingdom using the resources God has entrusted to them.
  • Use the information on your well-maintained database to ask donors for an amount appropriate to their giving record.
  • Make it easy to respond!

N: Nuance

  • What makes you different? What makes you stand out from like-minded ministries? Do you do what you do in a way that sets you apart from other organizations?
  • Make these distinctives clear! Your donors need to hear why you are special and what makes your cause different.

O: Openership

  • In both mail and email, your first barrier to a donation is your biggest: getting the donor to read your message.
    • In the mail:
      • Create a bold carrier envelope with a teaser that screams for attention in the mailbox (remember, your donor will decide in about seven seconds if she will open your letter!).
      • Make the copy about the donor, not your organization.
    • In email:
      • The sender should be a person, not an organization. Donors are more likely to open emails from an actual person.
      • Make your subject engaging, and intriguing.
      • Use personalization in the subject line if you can.

R: Receipt

  • Receipt your donors quickly! Promptly! Immediately! (STOP READING NOW and receipt your donors if you haven’t yet today!)
  • One of the main reasons donors stop giving is because they didn’t feel appreciated or get thanked properly.
  • Also — consider including a reply envelope and modest response device in your mailed receipts.
  • Use email receipts to drive to your website and social media platforms.

In the coming weeks, we’ll drill down into each of these points in more detail, providing additional tips and tools to help you maximize the potential for your fundraising campaigns.

For any questions in the meantime, feel free to get in touch! Email David Workman at anytime.