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Majoring on the majors
Build Relationships with Key Supporters
By Robb Hansen
A critical aspect of any fund raising effort is building relationships with those donors most committed to your cause. While investing time in relationships with major supporters can sometimes feel like a distraction, it's of crucial importance.
After all, those who give larger donations to your organization are sort of like key venture capitalists who invest in a business. The more they give, the more of a stake they will feel in your outcomes. They want to see you succeed. They've chosen to support you instead of the guy across town. They are hoping to see their resources put to good use and making a difference.
All this augers for relationship building with your key supporters. They need to know a lot about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Bear in mind that you are working on your mission and programs every day. Whether your cause is feeding the hungry or saving the whales, you are up to your neck doing what you do. But your donors are not. You may think they have a strong grasp of what you do, how you do it, and why, but in point of fact they may not.
This means you need to set aside time to meet with your major donors, and you need to do it face to face. Whether such meetings take place one on one or in a small group setting, getting with your partners in an interactive environment is important. Such a setting allows for friendships to develop, for trust to be established, and lowers natural barriers to people asking detailed questions about what you do.
A wide range of components can become a part of such a meeting and what you actually do should vary over time depending upon your audience and setting. There are many possibilities. For example, consider including a step by step review of your program strategy. Explain what you do, the challenges you face, what you hope to accomplish, and the successes you experience. This sort of "real" interaction with donors will go a long way toward building trust and respect.
And don't miss the opportunity these meetings afford to get to know those you are meeting with personally. Learn about family, career, education, background, activities, and hobbies. Develop your ability to show a genuine interest in people. As you do you'll experience deepening friendships. A natural result will be passionate supporters who advocate for, and give to, your cause.
Hansen is the president of Next Level Insights, Inc., a fundraising and
communication company dedicated to furthering the effectiveness of
© 2015 Robb Hansen
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Next Level Insights offers support and assistance in a
wide range of nonprofit activities. Call us today at 1-866-524-2654
to learn more. Our assistance is available on an as-needed (one time or
occasional) or ongoing basis.
- Web design
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Next Level Insights (NLI) was founded to support the work
of nonprofit organizations like yours. We're dedicated to serving
small to medium-sized organizations in the nonprofit community, applying
contemporary strategies to organizational development and fund raising.
Our objective is to take your public presence with donors
the next level!
To discuss how Next Level may help your organization, please contact us
847.788.8100 / 866.524.2654
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