You may think your main goal with donors is to motivate them to give them money. That's only partly right. There's something more important -- and more difficult-- that you need first.
Michael Rosen says, the most important, valuable thing a prospect or donor can give you is their trust. (What is the Most Important Thing a Donor Can Give You? It's Not What You Think It is).
You know your organization is trustworthy, so you may think that's an unimportant step. But from a donor's point of view trust is the main issue. A long, sad history of charity scams and scandals have taught many that we aren't trustworthy. Guilty until proven innocent.
Once you win trust, the money is (relatively) easy.
How do you get there? Here's Rosen's list. It's geared toward major donor face-to-face relationships, but it can translate to all types of fundraising:
- Keep your promises. Tell people what you're going to do. Then, do it. Then, demonstrate you did it.
- Tell donors how their gift will make a difference.
- Tweak your body language, behavior, and mind-set.
- Do not dominate the conversation.
- Do not ask for a gift.
What might this tell us about a less personal medium like direct mail?
- Be specific about what you're asking the donor to do. Glittery abstractions don't build trust.
- Show your bona fides with watchdog organization.
- Be transparent. Show donors how to get in touch with a human, see your annual report and audited financials, have a physical address.
- Acknowledge gifts promptly.
- Report back on the impact of their giving.
- Don't make errors with your donors' data.