Posted by & filed under Donor communications, Fundraising, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Are you stuck in your fundraising?  Overwhelmed? Dissatisfied?  Need a reset?

Or maybe your organization is just starting to get serious about building a strong fundraising program and you’re wondering how to get going.

When I see fundraisers struggling with any of these situations, I always ask them to stop everything they are doing, take a deep breath and then focus completely on the donor relationship and making every single one of your donors into a LLL-Donor: Loyal, Loving and Long-term.

The path to success become clear and the steps are fewer than you’d imagine:

  1. Set your sights on finding donors that are as interested and passionate about your mission as you are (you are interested and passionate about your mission, right?!)
  1. Offer donors reasons to support your mission
  1. Share how donors are achieving the mission
  1. Repeat

When you make the shift to a LLL-Donor strategy, you no longer think: “I have to write a direct mail letter”.  Instead you’ll say: “I have to tell my donor about this horrible problem and the solution we have.”

A stewardship report is not a burdensome exercise in dragging information out of your programs people to regurgitate to donors. It’s now a labour of love to show donors how their generosity is making measurable improvements in our community, country and/or planet.

Even rubber-chicken silent auction events will be elevated above a formulaic dinner and silent auctions.  Instead, your gala will become a LLL-donor recruitment event, where you have the opportunity to emotionally engage 100, 300 or 1000 attendees with the life-changing work your charity performs.  Play your cards right and you will bring a good number of them into your donor-fold, motivated by true philanthropy.

Your fundraising calendar no longer looks like a spreadsheet related to your accountant’s work plan for your fiscal year. It’s now a plan to build loving relationships with new donors and sustain the fire for your cause with your long-term donors.

Sending notes, having conversations, making donors feel special and appreciated…sharing your deepest dreams and feelings and reminding them of how good it feels take on the world together.

Sound mushy and irrational?

That’s when you know you are on the right path.

David Kravinchuk is passionate about prescribing annual giving and bequest marketing solutions, David opened Fundraising Pharmacy to dispense name-brand advice (at generic prices!) for Canadian charities including St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, New Democratic Party (MB), Community Living Toronto and international clients like Outward Bound New Zealand and University of Queensland. Follow David on Twitter @DavidKravinchuk and sign up for his regular dose of advice, RE:Phil.

3 Responses to “The 3 “L”s of successful donor relationships.”

  1. Lydia

    I think that hits the nail on the head. It’s really about problem-solution. All the rest is either ancillary to that, or just plain not even needed. Speak from the heart, to the heart, about an issue that is really important to the donor and you’ll have success. Nothing mushy or irrational about that at all.

  2. Mario

    Amazing how it seems so “simple” and yet, most charitable organizations I’ve come across, helped or been involved with have difficulty with steps 2 and 3 particularly.

    With regard to number 2, it is not that people don’t want to offer reasons to donate, most of the times the reasons are not written, described or explained in a way that resonate with the potential donors. It is key how these reasons are communicated to engage potential donors.

    On number 3, most organizations say thank you when they get the funds, but forget that even though its not done for the recognition, being recognized is a great incentive to keep on giving. From a simple thank you letter, to awards and special dinners to thank large donors and sponsors, it is important to fully recognize each contribution.

    As organizations become more aware of the importance of communication and recognition, their fundraising efforts improve.

  3. Jake

    Let’s not forget it is important that the community profile of the organization is really visible. Attracting sponsors and donations is easier when people know who you are fundraising for and have a concept of trust and value associated with your organization.


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