Skyrocket Donor Loyalty With These 3 Easy Tips
By Sanita Guddu of Persuasion
We talk about buzz words such as stewardship (I do it too) but what does it actually mean to you, your charity and why does it even matter?
Essentially, it’s about making donors feel valued and appreciated to increase their loyalty and so they keep on giving.
Most likely, you had a face-to-face events programme across all fundraising streams pre-March 2020. And as much as we have attempted to embrace the virtual events and bring our donors up to speed with the tech if it isn’t gelling for them, here are 3 tried and tested communication methods your donors will love.
1. Pick up the telephone
I’m an avid fan of picking up the telephone to talk to donors and the results speak for themselves.
When I was a fundraiser managing high-value donors, those donors that received a call went on to leave another high-value subsequent gift compared to those who weren’t called. Your donors are people and most likely older people that like to be thanked and want to talk to you.
If you or your team are more likely to send an email than pick up the phone, here are just some of the benefits of choosing the handset.
- You can build a rapport far quicker on the phone
- You have a greater understanding of how your donor feels
- You can check if it is convenient to talk to them, whereas with an email you never know what they are feeling when they receive it and can be easily forgotten about.
- It’s quicker, how many times have you re-written an email to the donor only to then delay sending it?
- You can find out the reason they support you and why your charity is important to them
And a question I am frequently asked - should I leave a voicemail? Yes!
Have a professional personalised voicemail greeting
This should go without saying, but we run into it more frequently than we should! Make sure you have a professional voicemail message, not only on your office phone but also on your mobile.
Even something as simple as, “Hello, you’ve reached Sanita at Persuasion. Please leave me a message, and I will get back to you as soon as possible”.
2. Send a personalised note
Don’t let the art of writing be forgotten. There’s no denying that our more traditional donors like handwritten letters. Isn’t this why we attempt to make appeals look like they have been written in ink?
Perhaps you know that a donor wants to know more about one of your service projects or has asked about the history of your charity. When you have something to tell them about their interest, it’s a perfect opportunity to write them a note.
When I was a Legacy fundraiser it was commonplace to handwrite (not something that was lasered to make it look handwritten but with a real pen!) Christmas cards to Legacy pledgers and birthday cards to donors that I spoke to on a regular basis.
3. Have a thanking donors day
A thanking day is a combination of calling donors and writing personalised letters and a way of getting your whole charity involved. Invite your volunteers and Trustees to participate too.
A thanking day can overcome some of the individual fears of being overheard on the phone, the challenge of making time to appreciate donors, and ultimately increased giving and loyalty amongst your supporters.
Do you feel de-skilled in any of these areas?
You’re not alone.
It’s not often I come across a fundraiser that uses the telephone over email or will send a handwritten note over a typed letter. This isn’t necessarily the sole responsibility of the fundraiser as often it’s a culture that exists within the charity that perpetuates whenever a new fundraiser is recruited.
What’s the answer?
It’s natural when budgets are tight (perhaps they have never been so tight) to neglect the investment of time and resource into fundraisers. But without their skills to talk to donors, there wouldn’t be as many loyal donors.
Is your charity ensuring that every fundraiser has access to training to brush up on this skill-set? Or the opportunity to be coached by someone that has been where they are?
Training and coaching may feel like a luxury right now but even a few hours with a coach will give your fundraiser confidence whilst developing their skills.
Why not invite a trainer to create bespoke training to address the fears, worries, and challenges your team has?
I hope this article has given you the confidence to talk to your donors in ways that appeal to them.
Sanita is co-founder of, Persuasion, a fundraising consultancy with a training arm aimed at supporting small to medium-sized charities.
With over 16 years of experience as a fundraiser and consultant, Sanita is considered an expert in the sector and presented at the Wilmington Charities Legacy Summit Nov 2020 advising charities on how they can be more relevant to their audiences during and post the pandemic.
Sanita has 12 years of hands-on experience in recruiting and stewarding donors, managing regional Legacy teams, organising and presenting at over 100 legacy events. She loves the whole Legacy journey from having Legacy conversations to Stewarding Pledgers.
Sanita specialises in writing fundraising strategies, Coaching and Mentoring fundraisers, training in topics such as Telephone Skills and Legacy Conversations, and providing interim in-house support.
To find out more you can get in touch with her via her website: persuasion.org.uk/contact-us/