Are you having the same conversation over and over with the same donor? Does your relationship with them seem transactional and stale? You talk to a donor when you need them to give you money. After which you send a thank you letter in an untimely fashion. Then rinse and repeat for monthly funds until they stop returning your calls and texts.
Could there be something more to this relationship with a donor?! As a matter of fact, there is.
It’s called a partnership.
Any good relationship, or partnership, is built on good communication. When you talk to your wife, you don’t always just talk about what you need from her. No, you ask about her day or ask how you can help with the kids or ask how you can pray for her big meeting tomorrow at work. The same goes for financial partnerships with donors. There is more to building a relationship than just asking. Is asking bad? Absolutely not! But asking is done in the context of a partnership with mutual goals.
So, what do you talk about?!
1 Say Thank You
A great place to start is by thanking them.
Who doesn’t like to be thanked for what they’ve done? And who doesn’t like to be thanked more than once? Honestly, I can’t think of anyone. So pick up that phone! Research shows that donors who are thanked within 48 hours of their first gift are likely to give a second gift of 50% more. Saying thanks does require a little thought, have you read the 3 Secrets to Saying Thanks? Gratitude speaks volumes.
2 Tell Them How Their Giving Is Making A Difference
Next, tell your donor how their giving is making a difference.
Partnership is about accomplishing something together. If you asked someone to give so that a young girl in the jungle of Ecuador could have an education, talk to your donor about her progress or the progress of her class and what that means for their future. If someone is giving to a general fund or annual fund, share a story of a life that has been touched by the ministry in some way — big or small. Build trust by talking about what your partnership together in this ministry has accomplished.
3 Ask Questions That Show Genuine Interest
Most importantly, be genuinely interested in them.
Just as you’re genuinely interested in your spouse or coworker or friend, ask questions about your donor. I find the best questions are open questions starting with “what” or “how”. For example, “I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the story, how did you and your husband meet?” or “How did you get to where you are today?” or maybe “What do you like to do to relax?” The bottom line is, if you really are going to be in a long-term financial partnership with someone, you want to know and understand them on a personal level.
These are only three simple ways to make your next donor conversation about more than money. Now, grab the phone and make some calls today.
Russell Cooper, Co-Founder
As co-founder of Tailored, I am dedicated to developing generosity in the Body of Christ. This is why I'm passionate about creating strategic partnerships with disciple-making organizations, as well as coaching leaders. When I have free time, I'm watching America’s Test Kitchen and trying out new recipes on my wife, my most dependable food critic. I also have fun taking care of our backyard chickens, Vicky and Flo.