Building Relationships with Donors and Members

Relationships take work. I’ll just say it. Whether it’s personal or professional, they require time, energy, and effort. The busier I get, the harder it can be to maintain relationships. Can you relate? Between work, family, friends, kids, hobbies, etc. and there’s only so much of you to go around!

But like with most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If you’re not putting in the work, don’t expect to get the results. Building relationships takes time, maintaining them takes effort and at the core, they require trust.

Trust is key in any relationship, whether it’s with your coworkers or with friends and family. But what about from a business perspective? According to Forbes, it’s relatively easy to establish trust for a for-profit business, because they can give the customer a high-quality product or service in exchange for their payment. But non-profits have to build a trusting relationship with donors, based solely on a promise to do good in the world with their money. No pressure, right? But how do you build that trust? How do you build that relationship?

Say thank you, like you’re writing to Grandma

People, at least most people, want to feel appreciated. So acknowledge them, sincerely. Think back to when you were a kid. Maybe you got a gift from a loving relative, like Grandma, or someone in your life did something that meant the world to you. Remember that feeling when you’re writing a thank you. Pretend you’re writing to Grandma. Show people you appreciate their time, their talents or their treasures. Leave out the jargon, the direct mail feel and just write from the heart.

Honesty is the best policy

Unless private information is at stake, be as transparent as possible with your donors and members. Of course don’t lie or hide things, because the truth always comes out. They will also appreciate that you’re not beating around the bush and that you’re giving them the respect of being up front and asking for what’s truly needed.

What are their dollars doing?

What was the impact of their contribution or membership? If they aren’t physically there to see the good work their dollars are doing, help them envision it. Whether it’s scholarships, new buildings, keeping the lights on, or providing food and shelter for those in need. They want to know that their hard-earned cash is being put to good use!

Communicate the right way

Some relationships are easier than others, right? Some relationships require less work, some require more, but you have to know which one you’re dealing with to know what you need to put into it. Think of your donors or members. Some of them want a lot of contact and others want to be left alone until the one time of year they make a gift or renew their membership. Knowing that each person is unique and treating him or her accordingly is important!

At Aria, relationship management is at the core of what we do. But more than managing relationships, we want to grow and nurture them, which is why we believe in taking the time to write that thank you note or pick up the phone and make that call. You will get out of it what you put into it, and it’s great if you have the time to manage that yourself. If you don’t, Aria is here to help put in the heart and hard work for you. Ask us about how we can help enhance relationships with your donors/members!

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