Major donations are defined differently according to the stage, size and type of nonprofits and charities. But all agree that major donors can be the lifeblood of our financial stability and sustainability.
Our major donors are so important! Nonprofits work tirelessly to identify, nurture and thank donors who make a critical mission-delivery impact. That is why it is especially painful to learn that you will lose fifty-three out of every one-hundred of your major donors on an annual basis. This means that in five years, just 21 of your original 1,000 donors will still be supporting your organization.
And the check that they write is not all you lose. On average, a nonprofit spends (in time, travel and entertainment) about $.25 for every donor dollar earned, causing further financial losses.
Assessing and providing the level of communications desired by major donors, and making that information easy to access, is key to major donor retention. It’s critical that nonprofits get this right and most leaders in the nonprofit world are still clearly struggling to engage both the hearts and the minds of our major donors.
A great nonprofit development director manager provides as much information and transparency as possible about the organization’s strategies and your mission — in an accessible and reliable way. The best nonprofits also never forget to inspire and excite our major donors. Major donors come to you because they care and want to financially support your mission; they stay because they feel like they are an integral part of your positive impact. Nonprofit leadership must offer a fulfilling, predictable and meaningful major donors experience.
Thank yous, success stories, and carefully fostered communication sharing can make all the difference in engaging the head and heart of every major donor.
Creating and maintaining donor engagement is all the buzz in 2019, in terms of effective donor retention strategies. Investing time and resources in engagement, communication — and most of all — connection reduces catastrophic donor exodus.
What content should you include in your Major Donor Group?
1. Provide all major donor required paperwork in ONE easy to access place. Include tax deduction forms.
2. Feedback centers/message boards. Provide a public, semi-public or private forum for your employees’ “shout-outs” and other forms of colleague recognition — focusing on big and small acknowledgments that make for a well-oiled, highly motivated major donor team.
3. Private channels to directly contact management with concerns, questions or complaints.
4. Onboarding or other training videos and materials. This can cut costs and time in onboarding new major donors, so that you can use the time you do have to make that all-important, personal, face-to-face connection with your new major donors. Plus, missed training sessions and other how-to guides or materials are always accessible to watch, read or review one more time. Major donors are already giving you their money — don’t take their time for granted. Home access to video and other training can be a real convenience to busy major donors.
5. Shared documents for collaborative planning, threaded discussions and major donors projects, such as galas and other coordinated events
6. Short Surveys, Q&As and flash polls are particularly revealing with major donors, since they don’t typically spend their days with you, meaning you may miss opportunities for water-cooler chat about major donor's impressions or ideas
7. Individual, departmental or organization-wide announcements.
8. Invitations/event scheduling.
9. Impact reports/annual reports.
10. Photos and videos from staff and major donors events such as birth announcements, weddings and other special moments.
11. Inspiring stories of mission success.
12. New major donors Introductions.
13. Introductions to staff, board members, major donors and other key constituents. Keep in mind that happy major donors also are likely to become donors.
14. Special requests for major donors skills, time or contributions — either in-kind or monetary donations.
15. Get to know staff, volunteers or other donors through stories and news.
16. Ongoing document management. Your Engagement Community provides unlimited, archivable and keyword searchable access to major donors-related documents stored, accessible based upon password designation. Nonprofits tend to attach major donors need-to-know documents to emails with researched open rates of less than 4%.
16. Ongoing educational content. Provide written and video targeted at donor trends, challenges, etc.
17. Social sharing made simple. Your Engagement Community comes social media-ready for easy sharing of good news, great photos and other information you want to share with constituents.