How to Create Deeper Relationships with Donor Communications

Suppose a donor calls you on the phone. Will you know who they are, instantly?

Maybe: if you work at a small enough organization. But research has shown that most people have only 150 real friends of their own.

The chances that you’re going to remember hundreds or thousands of your organization’s supporters off the top of your head? Slim and none. But each one of those donors wants to be known, and appreciated.

Personalized donor communications: What’s a nonprofit to do?

It’s a paradox: to treat people more personally, you need the right tools. 

If you’re still keeping your donor records on paper or on a spreadsheet, there’s no way you can be as friendly with them as you’d like.

Personalized donor communications is all about treating each donor like they’re the most important donor. Without the right tools, making each donor matter most is almost impossible, especially if you have more than 150 donors.

Your nonprofit needs a good database and a good system for collecting information. With those tools, when the donor calls you can instantly know:

  • How long they’ve been in touch with your nonprofit organization
  • How often they give
  • When they last gave, and how much
  • Whether they’ve also volunteered for the organization
  • What program or service you offer that they especially appreciate
  • Who they know at your organization (Board, staff, other donors)
  • Who are their other friends and relatives who support your organization
  • Whether they’ve opened your email
  • Whether they follow you on social media

If you keep good notes in your database, you can also recall exactly what they said the last time they talked to anyone in your organization. Many donor CRMs even have a dashboard that shows each donors level of engagement (etc: passive and unengaged, frequent action takers, influencers).

If you’re familiar with this information, you start your conversation one step closer with the donor. They will feel valued and appreciated. And they’ll be more likely to give to your organization again, and again.

So, a database is not just a cool tool with data. The important thing about a nonprofit database or constituent relationship management (CRM) system is how it helps you treat your donors as real human beings, who begin to like, know, and trust you.

John Haydon