Building relationships with donors
Building relationships with donors

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Building relationships with donors

6 Conclusion

Here is a summary of the main learning points from this course:

  • The vast majority of people only become donors by being asked.

  • Acknowledging your own feelings about asking is an important step in becoming confident in this key skill.

  • A behavioural approach to asking concentrates on analysing and performing a sequence of activity: choosing the moment, setting the participants at ease, establishing mutuality, explanation, requesting a specific amount, listening and responding, and thanking as appropriate.

  • A process approach to asking focuses on four key aspects of asking as an overlapping process rather than a series of steps: knowing your prospect, defining what you want, communicating your request, and building the relationship. This approach can be adapted to asking large numbers of people for things (through media such as direct mail) as well as for one-to-one personal requests.

  • Neither approach will guarantee your desired outcome – resilience in the face of rejection is part of the job.

  • Donor development is the process by which, from their very first contact onwards, you can encourage and enable donors and supporters to make the maximum contribution they both desire and are capable of.

  • The donor development pyramid depicts donors on an ascending scale of commitment (and size of gift) from one-off donors at the base to legators at the apex.

  • The donor kite depicts a similar hierarchy of donors to the donor development pyramid, but pays attention to the aggregate size of gifts as well as the number of donors at each level.

  • The donor matrix helps develop donor development strategy by plotting the position of individual donors against a horizontal axis expressing how well they are known to the organisation and a vertical axis expressing the value of their maximum potential contribution.

  • Continuing donor development involves the following practical considerations: thanking and acknowledging, listening and responding, balancing emotional commitment with understanding, taking account of external perceptions, and using involvement devices appropriately.

  • Big-gift strategies usually focus on either the absolute value of gifts looked for, or their relative size in relation to the appeal in question and the donor's capability. In the former case major donors must be found and cultivated (requiring considerable investment in research and servicing relationships). The latter case involves maintaining an orientation towards major support by identifying and articulating significant giving opportunities within an appeal.

  • Legacies can be regarded as the final stage of donor development. Charities encouraging committed supporters to leave a legacy should always underline the need to seek independent legal advice when making a will.


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