You can ask donors to give again through a process known as “Donor Cultivation.” It means continuing to build a relationship with a donor and asking them for additional gifts. The term ‘donor cultivation” can be used in each of the different kinds of fundraising, but it looks a bit different depending on the fundraising method.
Donor cultivation will generate most of your revenue. Why is that? It typically costs you money to acquire new donors. Once a donor has made their first gift, they are much more likely to make additional gifts. They have already decided that you are worthy of their gift, now you just have to reinforce that decision and ask for additional gifts.
Donor cultivation – According to fundraising style
The way that you ask your donors to give again will depend on the way they gave in the first place. Here are some different ideas of how to cultivate your donors.
Your donor cultivation is the weekly ‘passing the basket’. This can be accompanied by printed giving envelopes, reminders in the bulletin, announcements from the pulpit, or even a stewardship campaign.
You cultivate direct mail donors by continuing to mail them fundraising requests. Ideally, you should have an annual calendar of regular mailings to your current donors.
To cultivate grantors, you should have an annual calendar of grant and reporting deadlines. Make sure you submit your applications and reports on time… you don’t want to lose these donors.
Similar to direct mail, you should have a regular communications calendar with your e-mail donors. You don’t want to overdo it, though, because they will hit the unsubscribe button.
Your cultivation strategy with major gift donors will look a little different. Cultivation will involve multiple ‘non-ask’ contacts in the course of the year building up to your annual (or twice annual) ask. Cultivation for the Major Gift fundraiser is much more about showing the love than asking regularly.
Since Capital Campaigns are usually big, one-time projects, cultivation means keeping the donors involved after they make the gift. Sometimes, a donor can be asked for an additional gift to support the capital campaign if sufficient time has passed and you can show that you’re near your goal.
Cultivation for a planned gift really happens at the major gift level. Your major givers are the people who are most likely to make planned gift. Build that relationship, make sure they feel appreciated.
Looking for more articles on key fundraising concepts and tools? Try these:
- Is my fundraising cost effective? Fundraising Return on investment.
- How can I find new donors? Donor acquisition.
- How do I inspire donors to keep giving? Donor Retention.
- How do I segment my donors into meaningful groups? Donor segmentation.
- Why am I losing donors? Donor Attrition.
- How do I encourage donors who have stopped giving to give again? Donor reactivation.
- How do I create an annual fundraising plan?
- What is a fundraising case statement? And why do you need one?
- How do I write a program budget that donors can understand?
- How do I create a donor database?
Check out The Fundraiser’s Playbook for a full list of fundraising articles.
Would you like to learn more about raising money for Church and Ministry? Check out Letters From The Almoner, now available on Amazon.com.
Image courtesy of Bernard Spragg, via the Public Domain.