Great Donor Relationships: Make it personal but don’t take it personally

What’s great about speaking to supporters over the phone is that you can, as a fundraiser, judge the relationship between the supporter and the charity in real time.

Their reaction to the fundraising ask is instant, so you get a true sense of how the donor feels about being contacted, how they feel about the charity and how they feel about being asked for support.

In the same breath, you can also use the telephone to engage and inspire supporters to strengthen that relationship even further.

Here are my 5 top tips to building great donor relationships:

Be friendly and polite

This might sound obvious but it’s easy to forget when, as a fundraiser, there’s so much more to remember to do and say!

The key is to have an inspiring conversation. What you’re talking about might not be nice, but having a friendly conversation about a subject you’re both passionate about certainly is. If you’re inspiring and if they’re able to say yes, they will.

Make it personal

Say the specific things that you have to say in a way that’s natural for you in the conversation. Add questions where it feels right and emphasise the parts the supporter is most passionate about.

But don’t take it personally

Some supporters are chattier than others. If they’re not very talkative, it doesn’t mean they don’t care. They might just want to listen, so don’t get disheartened.

Don’t just ask for money

Even calling about Gift Aid or something else more administrative can be a great opportunity for an inspiring conversation. Or you can speak to supporters at every step of their own fundraising journey.

We loved using this approach for Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s London to Cambridge bike ride event: supporters were contacted just after registering for the event to see if they’d like to set up their own fundraising page, and again at the end of the event to thank them for their support.

Most of all, say Thank You

Start and end by saying thank you – for previous support, for a nice conversation, hopefully for a new regular gift.

Some of the most loyal, passionate supporters can’t say yes, but they will as soon as they can. It’s so vital to be grateful for that loyalty and passion, not to mention any financial support.

Fundraising calls can be about so much more than asking for money, and having these sorts of great conversations builds great donor relationships.

Tom

Copywriter

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