Do your donors and prospects respond when you write to them? Or do you hear crickets?

Here’s the problem: Time.

Or rather, lack of time.

Being crunched for time is the enemy of fundraising.

We all are so busy that we don’t have the luxury of time to think. Time to plan. Time to put ourselves in our donor’s shoes to understand what they will respond to.

And that’s a big problem.

Because knowing what your donor wants is the key to successful fundraising.

Fundraising Truth #4 is this:

golden eggsTake care of the goose and you’ll always have golden eggs.

Ok, no big surprise there, but what does it really mean? What does it look like to take care of your geese so you always have golden eggs to fund your programs?

It’s really pretty simple: Feed them.

Here’s what feeding your golden-egg-laying geese looks like in practical terms:

  • Stay in touch. You know that person in your circle that you only hear from when they want something? Don’t be that person to your donor. Stay in touch with them. Communicate regularly so they stay “in the know” about the good work you’re doing. Don’t let the only things they get from you be requests for money.
  • Be relevant and interesting. It’s easy when you’re crunched for time to just slap words on a page so you can call it done and move on to the next thing. But stop. What if that message falls flat when it reaches your donor? What if it bores them? If it isn’t engaging, it’s a waste of time, and you’re teaching them to ignore you because your messaging isn’t interesting.
  • Keep it full of emotion. Giving is an emotional act. So keep your communications full of warmth so they make your donor feel good. That’s the sole purpose of your newsletter, thank-you letters, and other non-ask communications – to remind the donor that your organization does work that matters in the world and they, the donor, get to be a part of that with you.

Before you do anything, think about your nonprofit’s work from your donor’s perspective. Try to understand what would make her feel GREAT about her experience with you. It may not be the same as what you think she wants, so don’t assume.

What you want your donor to know and what she wants to hear may be different.

If you’re not sure, ask a couple of donors for their thoughts. And if they don’t know, test a couple of things and see what people respond to.

One of our clients who has successfully grown past the start-up phase of her nonprofit shares a lot of photos and video of her organization behind the scenes. She runs a horse rescue, and she shows feeding time, vet visits, and event nap time. And her donors LOVE IT! One told her recently that she gives every time there’s a new horse because she trusts that the money will be used wisely.

This. THIS is why it’s worth the effort to communicate regularly to feed your geese.  Giving them what they want is what keeps the golden eggs coming.

golden eggs