Donor Relations Strategy
A project for Humanitarian Notes
Pro Bono Time
We have a very loose affiliation of donors, many of whom are familiar with the projects through friendships with those involved. We've occasionally tried to keep donors in the loop with mailings, but thus far it hasn't been something we've stuck to. We have a new website and social media plan up and running, and we expect our donor list to grow in the coming months, so we'd like to harness these connections and make them sustainable.
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