How to Cultivate Donors in Four Steps
Just as water is essential to the survival of fish, so is adequate funding essential to the sustainability and survival of programs run by non-profits. As such, planing and incorporating a strategic donor cultivation plan will assist in the achievement of program objectives. The following steps can serve as as a guide in the cultivation of donors for various non-profit programs.
Prior to starting a donor cultivation program, non-profits should conduct research on funders and categorize funders according to their mission. By so doing, they will be better positioned to connect on mutual point(s) of interest. This is critical since the attention of potential funders has to be captured prior to solicitations. Therefore, a meaningful way of capturing the attention of donors is by communicating with them based on mutual interests.
2).Engage Identified Funders:
Upon identifying and capturing the attention of donors based on their interests, the next step is to engage with them. Activities that encourage networking and face to face interactions tends to yield higher results than activities that involve less personal interactions. For instance, invitations to the program site of non-profits can be issued to potential donors. By doing this, funders will be provided with an opportunity to learn more about a non-profit's programs while providing them(funders) with an opportunity to connect with the non-profit at a deeper level.
To involve funders further, the non-profit's team lead can provide them with options/mediums through which they would like to engage with the non-profit. That is, would they rather serve as volunteers or offer advice on an "as need basis?" At this phase, some donors will opt out. Whatever the outcome maybe, it shouldn't be taken personally. For example, a donor may opt out simply because he or she may have other pressing engagements.
3). Request Financial Support:
Now is the time to request for financial support from potential donors after researching and engaging identified donors. At this point, most of the donors identified would be conversant with your non-profits mission and its work within the community. Since the likelihood of an emotional connection is likely to be high, funds for programs can be solicited successfully. Funds may be solicited through fundraisers, sports events etcetera.
4).Create a CRM System:
Creating a crm system will help non-profits in keeping track of the activities of donors. It will also provide insights on strategies that work best among a certain segment of donors and those that don't work. Such information can be fine tuned and transformed into the development of an adequate donor cultivation strategy.
Donor cultivation process is an ongoing process and should not end once funding is received. Coming up with creative ways of engaging with donors will definitely set your non-profit apart from others while making it more memorable. Although donor cultivation is a slow process, sticking to it reaps desired results.
Written By Sherita N Brace
Sherita N Brace is an international development professional and a blogger. She serves as a consultant to non-profits and provides grant writing services, program planning services and communications services.