Love Will Find a Way: Three-Part Series on Transformational Fundraising

August 12, 2022

Part 2: Letting Your Donors Know You’re Ready for Love

Last week, we examined the key differences between transactional and transformational fundraising. With this new understanding, we urged your organization to reevaluate your current role and methods to improve the donor experience while transforming your nonprofit.

Now, let’s discuss how you can take your donor relationships to the next level.

Intentional attention

Imagine meeting someone new who shares your passions, interests and ideals. You know you would be a blessing in one another’s lives, so how do you grow that friendship?

You take time to learn all about her — her family (and fur babies), background, goals and dreams. You listen to her concerns and celebrate her achievements. You let her know you’re thinking about her. You remind her how important she is. You show her how much she’s loved. Through the bond of your shared mission and vision, you help her fulfill her legacy.

In return, she’s there for you, too. She has your back. You can count on her support.

Now apply that scenario to the relationship between your organization (you) and the donor (a new friend).

Summit Marketing suggests that when someone makes a first gift of $100 or more, they have shown a keen and heartfelt passion for your organization’s work and those you serve, and the amount of their gift demonstrates the capacity for an even greater level of support.

These two factors indicate the donor is ready for love. She’s a prime candidate for Intentional Attention, an investment with exciting returns for your organization… and a transformational experience for the donor.

The 4 A’s… a love language for donors

Creating a transformational experience for your donors doesn’t have to be complex. Drawing on their human desire for acknowledgement, affirmation, appreciation, and aspiration, you can create a 4-Pillar Plan — a series of touchpoints that will fulfill their needs and cement their relationship with your organization.

Pillar 1: Acknowledgement

“Thank you” is a polite expression of gratitude, typically used in response to receive a gift, service, or compliment.

Whether time, talent or financial contribution, respond to every gift in a timely manner. The donor wants to know not only that her contribution has been received (if monetary) or recognized (if volunteer service), but also that it is making an impact to further your shared vision. Remember to acknowledge not only the gift itself, but just as important, the donor’s intention and sacrifice.

For first-time contributors, this pillar may be augmented by an “onboarding plan,” with touchpoints that welcome the donor and offer a preview of what the relationship holds in store.

Pillar 2: Affirmation

Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” If we take Twain literally, six compliments a year would have him emotionally fulfilled.”

Out of the blue. For no special reason. Surprise and delight the donor with a reminder that she is important to you — not her generosity, but the donor herself. Take time to get to know her, tell her more about your organization and ask for her opinions and suggestions.

Join us next week as we reveal the final two touchpoints of the 4-Pillar Plan in “Part 3: Speaking Your Donors’ Love Language,” and share our conclusion to From Transaction to Transformational… Love Will Find a Way: Three-Part Series.