A Holistic Donor-centred Approach to Raising Funds

Delicious fruit doesn’t just “happen”. You need the right conditions – soil, moisture, sunlight, temperature. It’s not enough for the tree to simply look healthy.

If the tree is to bear abundant and delicious fruit over a sustained period of time, you cannot simply focus on the 180 degrees above the ground surface. The entire tree must be nurtured – roots and all.

You have to take a 360 degree approach to cultivating and nurturing your tree.

Like delicious fruit, profitable long-term donors don’t just “happen”.

You need to craft donor-centred solicitations and send out prompt, customized thank you letters. You need to finesse your external 180 degrees of touchpoints with donors.

To sustain healthy relationships with donors you need to … exceed donor expectations … earn donor trust and commitment … find out what motivates your donors … engage donors as partners in making the world a better place … you need the buy-in of everyone within the organization. Then you can maximize the philanthropic potential of each donor.

You need a culture of philanthropy – an holistic approach that involves all stakeholders, including the Board and other volunteers, all fundraising teams, communications, program staff, and supporting departments. All with a common goal and purpose – the mission.


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Drive #DonorLove from the Bottom Up

Drive #DonorLove from the Bottom Up

If you’re not “the boss” and feel like you’re the only one who recognizes the need for your organization to be more donor-centred, can you influence change? Yes! Absolutely. You can be a Donor Advocate. You are a major stakeholder in moving the org towards focusing more on donor interests, concerns, needs, passions. You know that the happier donors are, the more money you and the organization will raise, the more successful you can be at your job, and the happier you will be. And you can share in the joy of changing the world for the better. Here’s a simple plan to influence change: 1. Take a leadership interest in donor stewardship. Be curious. Constantly ask questions of your colleagues. Find out how which donors the direct marketing team targets – who do they mail or call? Who do they exclude? Do they respect donor requests not to receive mail?  Who welcomes new donors? Provide your colleagues with any donor feedback you might have. 2. Set an example. For example, if your key function is to enter gift data into the database and you notice that a donor has given a much larger gift than in the past – pick up the phone and call to spontaneously say “Wow! Thank you so much!” If you see a donor in the reception area, pause to greet her/him and express appreciation for her/his support. 3. Show colleagues you care about donor retention. Work collaboratively with colleagues to improve overall stewardship. For example, if no-one else is nurturing known planned giving donors, make it your mission to do so. If there is a...