Is Yours a Donor Centred Organization?
Everyone in the charitable sector talks about the value and importance of being a donor-centered organization. But what does it really mean? It means building a relationship with your donors that is built on trust and respect. When organizations embrace donor-centered fundraising, they clearly place their donors first and keep them top-of-mind in virtually everything they do.
The Advantages Of Being Donor-Centered
We have all seen the statistics about the cost of acquiring new donors vs. retaining and increasing revenues from existing donors. It can be up to six times more expensive to attract a new donor than it is to retain an existing one. Investing in the retention, nurturing and stewarding of existing donors will also yield far greater results in the long run.
Donor-Centrism Must Permeate Your Entire Organization
Part of being a donor-centered organization means that you must have the donor’s perspective in mind in virtually everything you do. It is a kind of excellent customer service that must be adopted by every member of your organization. It may require investments in time and resources to achieve, but they will well be worth it.
Putting the donor first can also be reflected in how you communicate who you are and what you do. There is a tendency for charities to extoll the great things THEY have accomplished thanks to the support of their donors. Instead, try reframing it to extoll the great things your donor have accomplished through their support of your organization. Doing so places the donor in the active role of accomplishing your mission and you are merely the tool through which this is achieved.
One Size Does Not Fit All
No two donors are alike, and if you are truly donor-centered, you will treat each donor differently. The first and most important thing to do is to listen to them. Ask them how they prefer to hear from you and how often, how they wish to be recognized and what would be most meaningful to them. Then, deliver on that promise. Public recognition is important and meaningful to most donors, however some prefer to remain anonymous.
Other Qualities Of A Donor-Centered Charity
Transparent: Nothing builds trust more than being honest and open about what you do. This means making your financials readily available to potential donors and answering any questions they may have about your operations.
Expedient: It is truly an attribute of great customer-service to do what they say they will do when they say they will do it.
Attentive & Honest: This comes back to listening to your donors and respecting their wishes. It goes beyond paying lip-service to them, so if you are not in a position to do what they wish you to do, you must respectfully tell them so and explain why.
When you become a donor-centered charity, you will soon reap the benefits. You can expect to have better donor relations, less donor attrition, higher average gift amounts and a lower fundraising cost per dollar raised. You will also be better suited to respond to your donors’ preferences and needs. At Lusens, we have found that most major donors who are offered the opportunity of being publicly acknowledged on an immersive and interactive recognition wall find it to be one of the most beneficial and significant methods of recognition.