Why do major donors invest in your charity?
One word… TRUST.
Trust is is built by demonstrating good stewardship before, after and at the time a donation is made. Donors want to know that you care about their intentions and needs as much as the charitable work and people you minister to. While they may not say it, as a matter of fact most will deny it, donors want to know you care about them.
I like to treat major donors just as I would a business partner or major investor. I set up a schedule to speak with them on a regular basis. I meet with them face to face to provide a stewardship report on the projects they support. In short, I spend time with them and listen to not just their words, but their hearts.
Good development professionals position themselves as the donor’s advocate. They become their supporter’s eyes and ears inside the organization. The best development people are “fixers and matchmakers”. They identify the types of programs the donor is interested in and then align the charity’s needs list with the donor priorities.
Trust is not built through a fancy direct mail piece or interactive email. Trust is built face to face and working hand in hand.
If you want to see your donors step up and start making major investments in your charity or non-proft, then start treating them like you would a business partner or major investor. Meet with them, talk with them, but most importantly listen to them.
Most charities are looking for the short cut to big gifts. Trust seems to always be the critical step that they forget. Build trust first…. and be disciplined enought to refrain from making an “ask” for a large gift until the donor’s trust is in place.
Do you care about donors? Trust is built as you reposition your supporters as investors, business partners and good friends. As counter-intuitive as it sounds your biggest donors must know and believe whole heartedly that your relationship is not about the money… it is about T-R-U-S-T.