Pam first taught me about creating donors that fundraise. She worked at a performing arts center on Florida’s East Coast. One day a major gift donor called, “I found a couple who will be perfect for us.” Would Pam make sure they got seats together at the next performance? Also, during intermission, would Pam stop by to greet them? Within a month, the couple joined at the $5,000 level. In three years, their annual gift grew to $10,000.
As you read this story, it easy to get jazzed about the money. All and good. But, let’s slow down and examine the experience. Do so for a big pay-off. You’ll discover the process Pam used to grow contributions. When you understand the process, you can replicate it to improve your donations, like Pam, in a way that also enhances your stewardship.
Donors Are Your Best Fundraisers
1. Embrace the fact that referrals are the ultimate source of new donors. Referred people who become donors, join with low acquisition costs, and because like attracts like, referrals often well connect with your existing donors cementing them into your community.
2. Develop an open relationship with donors. Educate them about how and why new donors join the organization. Be explicit about the value donors receive so your donors can readily share these benefits with others.
3. Affirm and support donors who take on the challenge to scouts new prospects for your organization. They leverage your work and reach new people. Research shows that the average American knows 600 people so almost all your donor can invite you to more prospective donors.
Every November is National Philanthropy Month, a time when we celebrate donors. As you celebrate each November, do you honor donors who gather new donors? Who in your donor base brings in prospects? How have you uplifted their efforts to encourage replication? What if you used Pam’s model as a tool in your development toolbox?
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