When does a relationship really begin with a donor?
- When they first hear about your organization or see an ad in the community?
- As soon as he or she arrives at your location?
- When a conversation is shared with the donor?
I would argue that a relationship doesn’t truly begin until after the donor leaves your location and you follow up. Until that moment, the donation experience was merely a transaction. And a transaction does not constitute a relationship.
Knowing a Donor by Name
Following up with a donor allows you to build an enduring relationship, but, in order to so, you must know who they are. We encourage our teams around the country to do their best to capture each donor’s information to make the most of this opportunity. When we know our donors, we can share a message of gratitude, request feedback, and remind them to make another donation at the appropriate time.
But it isn’t without its challenges. We understand most folks don’t want to give away personal information. So how can we be creative in the “ask”?
Following the Script
The easiest way to capture a donor’s information is to ask, “ What organization would you like to support with your donation?” Getting the donor to pause and follow up with, ”Because of your donation, we can share gift cards with your partner organization”.
Since we work with the poor & homeless, this story is encapsulated in the Corners Of Your Field program. But the concept of sharing gift cards can work equally well with other stories. The bottom line is you want each donor to know they can increase the gift cards shared with their preferred partner, simply by sharing their information. Churches, civic organizations, and other non-profits and for-profits could benefit from this relationship.
Capturing the Details
Writing down a donor’s information can be done using pen and paper. But technology allows for a timely follow up, which is critical to beginning the relationship well. For users of ThriftTrac, a quick “thank you” email is automatically generated. An additional e-mail within the next week from the director or leader of your non-profit can help cement this relationship as well and has long-term benefits.
The average donor will contribute over $5,000 in gently used items to an organization over their lifetime, if we take care of them. A simple smile, a “thank you so much”, and a “your donation is helping us (insert your cause here)” is all it takes to nurture a relationship and keep them coming back.
And once you’ve capture the donor’s information alongside their donation details, you can take it to the next level. Follow up correspondence allows you to reach out and inform your donors of the latest happenings at your organization. ThriftTrac will do this for you, but if you are not a ThriftTrac user be sure to keep thrift donor communication at the top of your list.