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10 Things Every Organization Should Do to Enhance Donor Loyalty

February 1, 2013 By Bridget L. Brandt
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Developing a solid donor base is not something that happens overnight. It takes time to cultivate a database of constituents who support your mission time and time again, and recommend your organization to others. Many factors are at play in the development of true loyalty, engagement and trust. How your organization utilizes its resources, the impact of your programs and your ability to communicate effectively with donors all factor into the equation and can significantly impact your organization’s ability to earn lasting loyalty.

With the goal of providing you proven, effective methods of increasing donor loyalty, I asked a sample of development professionals for their ideas on this topic. I received dozens of great responses, so thank you to those who provided feedback.

Building an effective program takes time and effort. Here are a few ideas to help you foster the one thing we all desire most, retention.

1. Listen to your donors
Find out what will compel them to further help you achieve your mission. Ask for their advice, and put it to practice.

2. Share your good news
Communication is key to building any relationship, and nonprofit relationships are no different. Think about newsletters, e-mails and face-to-face visits to keep the flow of information open.

3. Measure your success
“In general, donors like to receive regular, measurable and concrete feedback about how their money makes a difference,” says Ursula Pfahl, vice president of business development at Bigham Jewelers, who worked with CMON — The Golisano Children's Museum of Naples. By sharing the impact in real measures, you solidify the good work you are doing.

4. Survey your donors
When Courtney Polster, fund development manager at Agrace HospiceCare, started surveying her donors, she discovered that a high percentage were utilizing planned-giving vehicles to support a charity — but she was surprised to see how few said hers was their charity of choice for this option. This revelation led to further research. “Quality initiatives like these are helping build a stewardship and recognition program as well as a planned-giving program," Polster says. "It has been most beneficial!” 

5. Leverage donor loyalty

Use your board members to make calls and write thank-you notes. The power of appreciation from a strong board member can go a long way in building loyalty.
 

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