Building and maintaining strong relationships with donors is incredibly important to your nonprofit organization. As a nonprofit, it can be tempting to take relationships for granted and to even neglect your donors. But just like a family, we need to constantly nurture our relationships.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you communicate and build your relationships with your donors.

Get to know your donors

What are their interests, passions, educational background, and motivations for supporting your organization? This is vital for all donors, but especially for your major donors. If you aren’t willing to invest in the relationship, why should they? 

Communicate to your donors

You are accountable to your donors for how funds are used. Being open about what your organization does inspires confidence among your donors. By sharing the impact results and examples of lives changed, you are affirming their choice to give to your organization.

Make a commitment to listen well

Just like when communicating with family members, we need to listen more than talk. Give your donor multiple ways to communicate and give feedback, and ensure that you give them a polite and thoughtful response,­ especially when the conversation turns negative. 

Learn each donor’s communication preference

Periodically survey your donors and ask how they would like to be contacted. It doesn’t make sense to mail them a physical newsletter if they are just going to throw in it the trash, or conversely, send them emails if they never check their inbox. It is important to ensure that your donors are not annoyed, but inspired by your outreach to them.

Add a personal touch

Emailing donors may be convenient, but it certainly isn’t personal. Personally call or visit when possible, and write handwritten notes to as many donors as you can. Surprise and delight your donors! Make them feel like they are supporting the BEST nonprofit in the entire world.

Always remember that your donors are not just a source for money, but part of your “family.” They are real people just like you – with likes, feelings, emotions, and yes, even problems. By communicating well with them, and working on building strong relationships, you will understand them better, and they will understand you better.