Donor Relations Strategy
A project for Boston Arts Academy Foundation
Pro Bono Time
Now in its 13th year, the Boston Arts Academy Foundation raises over $2M annually from individuals, foundations, and corporations in support of Boston Arts Academy (BAA), an urban public high school that is proving the essential role the arts play in student development and achievement. Though many of its donors believe deeply in the mission and proven results of the school, BAA's charismatic founding headmaster is stepping down and transitioning to a new role. It is important that we assure donors that this success will continue under new leadership and that the need for their support continues. The Catchafire professional will be working directly with the ED of the BAA Foundation, Rick Tagliaferri.
Sustaining donors’ engagement with an organization is far more cost-effective than acquiring new donors. A donor relations strategy involves an effective structure for engaging existing donors in the organization’s work by timely and appropriate donor communication, acknowledgement, appreciation and gift stewardship.
A donor relations strategy document of no more than 10 pages that includes:
- Donor relations goals
- Tactical donor relations activities (e.g. a donor communication plan, a donor appreciation plan, etc.)
- Guidelines for measuring the success of donor relations efforts (e.g. retention and attrition rates of different donor levels, number of contacts made with donors, etc.)
The professional meets with the organization to discuss organization’s current donor relations program. This may include the organization’s strategies for donor communication, acknowledgement, appreciation, and gift stewardship, retention and attrition rates of different donor levels, and existing communications materials.
The professional assesses the organization’s goals, available resources and budget to be allocated to the donor relations program.
The professional develops a strategy recommending tactical donor relations activities (e.g. creating an e-newsletter, organizing a donor recognition event, etc.) and a time frame.
The professional and organization go through 2-3 rounds of review and make necessary changes to the strategy document.
The professional and organization establish guidelines to measure the success of tactical donor relations efforts (e.g. retention and attrition rates of different donor levels, number of contacts made with donors, etc.).
The professional delivers a final draft of the donor relations strategy document.
- At least 2 years of experience in donor relations, stewardship, alumni relations, development and fundraising, marketing, public relations, communications
- Prior experience in building and strengthening relationships with constituents
- Prior experience in planning and executing communications and marketing support for a comprehensive fundraising campaign
- Ability to provide access to the organization’s donor data (e.g. donor retention and attrition rates, etc.)
- Willingness to allocate budget and resources to marketing and communications activities as a part of the donor relations strategy
- Ability to implement recommendations
What kinds of tools/technology are you open to using for donor relations? What kind of budget, if any, is specifically set for it? Which staff members will implement the plan?