Donor cultivation is a culture rather than a process, focusing entirely on donor relations. The cultivation of donors refers to adding new donors to your army of supporters, urging your smaller donors to increase their giving size and motivating major donors to repeat their gifts. Stewardship plays a great role in donor cultivation; from maintaining transparency regarding the impact of donations to creating opportunities for your supporters to constantly be engaged with your cause – a must do! Since stewardship is about taking care, you really have to take care of your relationship with your existing and potential donors. Improving your relationship with your donors takes effort and a lot of care.
In the donor cultivation cycle, your organization has to identify potential donors, get them to donate and then steward those donors. Here are the steps to an excellent donor cultivation cycle:
- Identification – Find the donors that you wish to cultivate, identify your potential prospects.
- Qualification – Based on the prospects’ interests in your mission and their ability to give, you’ll be able to qualify the donors you want to focus on.
- Cultivation – Once you have your set of donors after screening, it’s time for a lot of communication and positive intentions. Your job at this stage is to make your donors believe that they are making a great impact by supporting your mission.
- Solicitation – This is the time to make your appeal – create a sense of urgency while exhibiting a spirit of unity.
- Stewardship – This includes focusing on donor relations with acknowledgement emails, follow up(s), thanks you messages and constant updates on your nonprofit’s campaigns.
In order to boost your donor cultivation, there are a few practices that you can always adopt.
Pay attention to your new supporters
It is a great idea to engage each of your new supporters individually. Make them feel special – consider starting with emails and text messages welcoming them. Do tell them of ways in which they can get deeply involved with your mission. Opting for a personal email blast is an ideal practice to begin with.
Push the conversation forward
Do not stop communicating! It is very unlikely for one email or message to convince a person to donate to your organization, so keep your communication moving. Send valuable content by creating videos with your organization’s founder talking about your mission and your past campaigns or you can also launch a direct mail campaign. The point here is to keep the buzz alive and going.
- Invitation to galas and parties
- Personal phone calls
- Personal visits
- Social media interactions with mentions
- Organize a lunch meet
Celebrate your milestones
When you are celebrating milestones, celebrate with your donors. Send newsletter and emails about your nonprofit’s recent success and how they are equal contributors to this milestone. You can also have a hall of fame dedicated to your donors on your website and feature your donors by turns. After making your asks and after the donations have been received, include your donors in the celebration of the results as well.
Paying attention to donor relations would create lasting connections and will help you gain new donors while inspiring the existing ones to give again. It is extremely important to remember that donor cultivation is the backbone of building a smooth fundraising campaign. This will take great team effort as well. As for managing your donor data, you can always rely on a trusted donor management software that will suit the requirements of your nonprofit organization.