We’re all guilty. That shiny new object looks just like a “silver bullet.” In our excitement, we forget what’s important in fundraising. Like your brand promise.
Why you exist, how you talk, what you believe, the impact you make, the feelings you stir… all these and more are wrapped up in your brand promise.
Everyone in your organization needs to understand, treasure and be true to your brand. Your leaders should grasp how it shapes fundraising. Development staff should be in tune with the organization’s mission, marketing, and financial goals and strategies (see our Balanced Scorecard for Nonprofits).
So repeat after me: If it doesn’t sound like you, don’t do it.
One way to live up to your brand promise is to invest more in front-end stewardship and cultivation instead of adding renewal efforts and mining your deep lapsed file on the back end. This way, your donors feel loved and your retention rates reflect it.
Some ways to improve on the front-end include:
- Develop a multi-channel welcome series. You can’t say thank you enough. But this also gives you a chance to deepen your donors’ understanding of what you do, why you do it, and how you do it.
- Ask for feedback. Surveys are a useful way to hear from your team (remember, donors are partners). Think about chat rooms on social media and give out a phone number specifically for donors to talk about issues, problems, or anything they want to get off their chest.
- Communicate more frequently and effectively. We often get asked how much communication is too much. Believe me, your donors will let you know. But too often nonprofits shut down communication with donors because a few of them may feel like you are over-communicating. Usually it means you are over-asking. Be creative in your messaging and don’t always ask for money! Rather, communicate more about the brand promise and the impact they are having. Giving away money is usually an irrational human behavior, so make them feel good about taking that action and demonstrate clearly the impact of what they are doing for your mission.
Sounds simple, but we know it isn’t. More effort in communicating and delivering on your brand promise, though, is sure to strengthen your donor relationships – and that’s what it’s all about in the end.