Dr. Is In Session: David Wu (PATH) and Peter Drury (Splash)

Motivating individual donors: Building a loyal base of donors

By Anna Jensen-Clem

This afternoon’s wide-ranging discussion of fundraising came down to two basic (and opposing) points: a donor’s experience can be transactional or transformational. Your donors can give a one-time gift out of obligation or the desire to see an immediate return, or you can foster a long-term relationship with them and witness your organization transform their lives. Clearly, the latter is ideal, and better for everyone involved.

Some highlights of the nearly-two hour discussion:

  • Finding trends in the individual donor space and implementing a strategic focus on individual donors.
  • Seeking and maintaining long-term relationships with individual donors, creating conditions for people to trust the organization, and finding ways to keep them involved in and supportive of the organization over many years. This is particularly important because not all donors are a perfect match for your organization, so finding loyal donors can take a long time.
  • Tracking and channeling donor contact to maintain their input. One way you can do this is by planning out a five-year trajectory with the individual so donors can see the longer-term plans for organizational impact. The trajectory would also help donors understand future plans and grant all parties a voice in the organization’s future.
  • Highlighting the importance of donor recognition; developing a strategy for recognition is just as important as the gifts themselves, and although many donors insist they don’t need any recognition, it’s imperative.

All of the attendees spoke about their own work in finding and keeping donors, and the topics listed above each came up organically in the course of a casual conversation. For information on upcoming GlobalWA events, please visit our website: https://globalwa.org/convene/global-washington-events/.