You know the ones. The ones you worked your tail off for during the last months of the year to influence their giving. You may have invited them to invest through social media, through Giving Tuesday, or an event or maybe you sent out a direct mail piece, etc.

Regardless of what activity you utilized to gain their support, they are wondering what you’re up to. Your thank you letter and calls were awesome! Well done. Now let’s retain those donors.

It’s time to determine how to communicate with them now. You’re weeks into the new year – how have you been delivering your mission in 2019?

Before I share these 4 simple ideas, segment your donor list because you will apply different strategies with different donors. Decide who the top 10 or 20 VIPS are.

Are they the biggest donors or the ones with the longest giving history or both? Or do you have some other criteria? You may want a mid-level donor category too followed by the smaller, community-based gifts.

Here are 4 simple ways to remember and retain your year-end donors:

1. Grab your smart phone and record yourself telling your impact story for 90 seconds. Easy peasy. It will take you 5 minutes to outline a script that focuses on a couple 2019 stats and then share a personal testimonial and be sure to say “Because of you…….” and “thank you…”  Give yourself 10 minutes to record to allow for re-takes in case you’re having a bad hair day.

Then email it to every donor except your VIPS. And how cool would it be if a board member was recorded doing this?! This does not have to be complicated. Your donors care more about the message than whether it’s produced by a media pro. Trust me.

2. Call or visit those VIPS. Tell them personally the same thing you put in the video. Let them know how proud you are to have them on your team.

If you have trouble reaching them to set up a personal meeting (by the way, it can be coffee, lunch or a quick stop by their office – know your VIPS well enough to know what they will respond to), leave a voice mail and then email the video saying you’re sorry you missed them but want to be sure they know the impact of their investment.

Hopefully some of your board members have relationships with your VIPS – if not, what a great opportunity to introduce them!

3. Ask them for feedback or advice. If you haven’t ever put together a donor survey, it’s time. Keep it short and to the point. What would you like to know?

Would it be valuable to segment your donor list into new donors and repeat donors? Do you know why they give or continue to give? How did they first hear of you? Do you know if they want to get more involved by volunteering? Do you have a new program idea and want to test it with them?

Simple e-surveys are easy to create and free to send! The up-front time of creating the questions (do it with a board member in 30 minutes) will be worth the information you gather and can inform some of your strategy.

4. Tell them what’s next and invite them to join in. What’s around the corner?

  • Are you hosting an exhibit, open house, tours, etc. you could invite them to?
  • Do you have a project that needs volunteers?
  • Are you launching a social media campaign to increase awareness and need them to serve as ambassadors who share your message?
  • Can you introduce them to your board president with a specific purpose in mind?
  • Could it be helpful if your corporate donors hosted an educational workshop for their employees?
  • Do you need your VIP donors to introduce you to someone?

See how this works? There are many ways to individually involve your donors in your work and some of them will say YES!! But they won’t if you don’t ask.

Choose one of these 4 ideas and make it happen. Your donors want to hear from you beyond when you just want money. And when they do, the odds of them giving again go way up.

If you’d like to talk through the execution of any of these, just contact me for a complimentary coaching call and we’ll put together a simple plan to make the magic happen so you can retain these donors!

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