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Last updated March 26, 2020

A big part of sustainable funding is donations! Below are a bunch of tips for attracting and retaining donors. Some of them cross over both scenarios, like showing appreciation (always important) and having a clear vision and mission.

20 Tips for Attracting Donors

1. Always show appreciation – This can be both publicly and privately. Just remember to never leave a donor un-thanked.
2. Involve donors in your projects and/or services – Most donors give because they care. Provide them with the opportunity and they may want to lend a hand as well as a monetary contribution.
3. Establish a clear, recognisable and trustworthy brand – This links to points 4 and 5
4. Be transparent and honest – ALWAYS
5. Be consistent – Don’t say one thing to one donor and flip the switch on another. While you need personalised communication, the underlying message coming from your organisation needs to remain the same.
6. Show of your personality – What makes your organisation unique?
7. Create an online presence – You’ve heard it before; we live in an online world. Make sure to provide ways for donors to connect with you online.
8. Make the donation process simple – Filling out form after form will put anyone off!
9. Provide monthly donation options – Create a way for donors to donate monthly without having to lift a finger. It’s got to be easy, otherwise, they won’t do it.
10. Establish pre-set giving amounts associated with certain services – For example, your organisation may offer counselling. Attach a figure to say 5 sessions and provide the opportunity for donors to give this
amount. They love to know how their contribution is actually helping.
11. Ask for support – It may seem basic, but people don’t know you need support if you don’t ask!
12. Share success stories – EVERYWHERE
13. Utilize visual media when sharing your story – A picture paints a thousand words; a video paints even more.
14. Craft an elevator pitch – Try and summarise what your organisation is all about in 30 seconds or less. The time it takes to share your story in an elevator ride! You never know who you are going to run into.
15. Define your urgency – Why do you need donations now?
16. Be explicit and personal – Treat donors as people, not ATMs!
17. Continually update your audience about your progress.
18. Ensure your donation methods are secure – There are loads of applications and online tools out there to ensure you can receive donations in a secure way. This provides both parties with peace of mind.
19. Establish a CLEAR vision and mission – Before you even start looking for donors, you need to be clear about what your organisation is all about.
20. Be creative when designing fundraising events and campaigns – Think outside the box!

20 Tips for Retaining Donors

1. Personalise communication – Connect with them, thank them, interact with them on a personal level. Address them by name.
2. Treat donors like people, not transactions – ALWAYS
3. Use targeted email campaigns – This comes down to knowing your donors and why they chose to donate to your organisation. For example, you may offer art classes for children and a group of donors only want information on this. Remember that!
4. Create a donor membership programme – What can you offer your donors in return?
5. Encourage donor feedback – About anything and everything.
6. Keep them in the loop
7. Host donor only events – A great way to show appreciation.
8. Utilize social media marketing – Connect with donors wherever they are.
9. Spotlight regular donors, online and offline – Another great way to show appreciation.
10. Offer donors more than one way to contribute – Most donors give because they care. Provide them with the opportunity and they may want to lend a hand as well as a monetary contribution.
11. Make sure not every bit of communication is about money – SO IMPORTANT!
12. Be transparent and honest – ALWAYS
13. Be consistent – ALWAYS
14. Share success stories – EVERYWHERE. How have donations helped?
15. Create a donor retention plan – Who is in charge of thanking donors? Who sends out emails? Who updates records? Think who, what, when, how and WHY.
16. Keep your records up to date – Super duper important. You need to know when a donor contributed, how much, how frequently. Maybe even how they first made contact. All important information in order to personalise communication.
17. Speak their language – This comes down to understanding your donors.
18. Establish a CLEAR vision and mission – This links back to being consistent. What is the message you are trying to get across?
19. Regularly show appreciation!
20. Let donors know specifically how their donation helped your organisation!

For more information on donations, check out our Sustainable Funding workshop. It is also available on USB!

If you have any specific questions or need a little help, feel free to flick me an email courtney@exult.co.nz

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