With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to show your donors how much you love and appreciate them!
This starts with understanding their needs.
Each one of our donors has a vision for how they’d like to see the world. Your donors give to you because they believe that your organization can make a difference in the cause they care about. You are their partner in changing the world and their gifts are an investment in that partnership.
One of our chief tasks is to help our donors feel connected to the changes we are making in the world, to feel that they ARE making a difference, to inspire them to give again so we can continue our important work. They need to be acknowledged and to feel appreciated – after all, without them, we’d be in tough shape!
How do we do this?
The quickest way to a donor’s heart is through a story.
Because at its core, philanthropy is a heart-centered activity.
And stories help us connect to one another through our heart space.
I know you have a million great stories you could tell!
Stories that focus on the Underdog, a Quest, the Journey, Comedy, Tragedy, or Rebirth. Stories about your clients’ challenges, triumphs and celebrations. We need to post success stories on our website, on our Facebook page, in our newsletter (and e-newsletter). We need to create case studies and collect testimonials. To sprinkle quotes in everything that goes out the door or over the internet.
You’d be surprised how many of your clients WANT to share their stories with you. After all, you helped them overcome a challenge and move to a better place in their lives. They want to share that triumph with others, let others in the same situation know that change is possible. It makes them feel good to give help and hope to others. For many clients, they feel it’s one way they can “repay” the agency for providing them with much-needed help. So don’t be shy about asking! We should, of course, ensure client confidentiality, but that’s easy enough to do with made up names and stock photos.
The other way you can inspire your donors is to interview your existing donors. Ask why they give. You will be amazed by some of the stories you hear! Like your clients, many of your donors are more than happy to share their story with you and it can serve as a major inspiration for others. Interviewing your donors will also help you get to know them better and deepen their connection to your organization (win-win!). Like client stories, sprinkle these liberally across your communications!
One quick way to share stories is to create a series of story postcards. These are easy and relatively inexpensive to create – most printers charge only $165 for 2,500 four-color postcards! Use a real or stock photo on the front, with a synopsis of the story on the back. End the story with a Call to Action – an invitation to read the full story on your website, a request for a financial or in-kind contribution, an invitation to volunteer. Send these out at strategic points throughout the year to reach out and engage with your stakeholders. We tried this with one client and the response was incredible!
Story-telling is a sure-fire way to connect more deeply with the people who truly care about the people who turn up at our agencies, looking for help. This Valentine’s Day, show your donors how much you love them by sending them a heart-warming, inspirational story about the difference they are helping to make in the world. It will inspire them to love ya right back!