- Prepare a donor for the second ask with the first ask – Poor fundraisers, like poor chess players, are not thinking far enough ahead. Every fundraiser should be thinking about a donor’s lifetime value and how they play a long-term role in the vision of your organization, not an acquisition response rate or just getting that first significant gift. When we focus solely on immediate results, we focus on the wrong things and will increase donor fatigue. Simply put, if we are not connected to our organization’s long-term vision and the role we all play in achieving that vision over time, how can we expect our donors at any level to be connected to that same vision? In addition, placing the first gift within the context of a larger vision provides a natural segue way from first gift (step1 toward the vision) to Stewardship (celebrating the first step) to the second ask (taking step 2 in the journey). Long-term context is essential to revisiting loyal donors as they deepen their participation, and it begins with the first ask.
- Create personalized incentives – Personalized incentives that speak to the donor’s passion and affinity for your organization are invaluable in deepening the philanthropic relationship. Position specific engagement pathways that focus on those core pillars of your work that donors tend to embrace. Each pathway speaks to their specific interests around your organization while aligning them with the overall philanthropic vision. While strategies for recognition—like giving societies or clubs with certain benefits—can be effective tools, the real incentives are around inviting and involving your donors to participate in your organization in a way that resonates with their philanthropic passion.
- Reduce friction – The last core principal in giving a second gift is simple, but not easy to execute. We often create significant amounts of friction for giving, obstacles that deter donors from making a gift they may want to give. As discussed previously, lack of timely recognition or targeted stewardship can quickly dissuade an otherwise interested first time donor due to frustration from not understanding their impact. In addition, we sometimes erect significant organization-centric barriers to the ways in which the donor can give a gift due to internal policies that take little or no account of a donor’s needs. The key is to allow donors to engage and give their gift via the payment methods, channel and terms that meet their needs. While gift acceptance policies are important to create boundaries tied to the organization’s vision and values, within those strategic boundaries, we should not root the donor in bureaucratic technicalities around how we want to receive the gift.
These 5 core principals implemented within an integrated, holistic development strategy can have a profound and lasting impact on the lifetime value of donors. In addition, implementing these principles is one of the fastest ways your organization can impact your bottom line this year and for years to come.