Five Ways to Effectively Communicate with Major Donors

You know that communication between your organization and your biggest supporters is vital – because if they don’t know how their support is making an impact, why would they keep giving?

However, the way you communicate is also important. Different communication channels connect with supporters in different ways, and there’s a time and a place for each.

Let’s break five of them down and examine their best uses.

1. Email

Email messaging is a great way to keep donors updated on your organization’s work, inform them about upcoming events, and share meaningful stories about how their generosity is making an impact. I also highly recommend it as an effective method for requesting prayer. A prayer request not only updates supporters on your organization’s latest news, but it also communicates some of your needs and lets donors take a more active role in your ministry.

You can use email for urgent financial requests, as well, but you’ll want to tweak your messages for major donors. Don’t send them the same messages you email to your general donor file or come right out and ask for a gift. Instead, make them feel honored and valued by simply communicating that your organization has a need and if the supporter is interested in helping, he or she can expect a phone call from your executive staff.

2. Direct Mail

Everything you can do with email you can also do with direct mail. But this channel has one more advantage – you can ask donors to send you their prayer requests. Not only do you want them to pray for your organization, but you also want to reverse that role and pray for every one of your major donors. This will help you get to know them in a deeper way and make more meaningful connections.

3. Phone

Phone calls and text messages are perfect for giving updates on upcoming events, communicating new information, or joining with a major donor in prayer. But they also give you, your executive staff, your CFO, or other members of your team opportunities to personally thank major donors for their financial support.

You want to thank donors over the phone throughout the year but especially six to eight weeks before the end of the calendar or fiscal year. This not only tells the donor that you’re thinking of them, but it also reminds them that your organization could use their support if they’re already thinking about making a gift at that time.

4.Social Media

No matter what social media platform you utilize, you need to make sure that your messaging is on point and that you’re continually posting about the great ways your organization is making an impact. That’s because you can control your message on social media, but you can’t control your audience.

On this platform, you’re potentially communicating with $25,000 donors and $250,000 donors alongside $25 donors. And every one of them should know the impact their gift is making, whether they have given $25 or a quarter million dollars.

5. Video

Video can be a highly effective tool for maximizing communication with your donors. We suggest you prepare 60-, 90-, or 120-second videos for your high-end supporters and let them know about the impact they’re making.

Equip the face of your organization – maybe your pastor or CEO – with a one-page script that acknowledges who the donor is, what the donor gave, and why the donor gave the gift. Then, ask that person to tell a compelling story about how the supporter’s generosity has impacted the lives of people around the world.

This kind of video – and all of your other messages – should illustrate your deep appreciation for donors. You want them to feel honored that you would go to such great lengths to communicate how their generosity is changing lives, and you want your messaging to make them feel like the heroes they are.

Get more insights about communicating with high-end supporters in Erik’s Dunham Institute course, Major Gift Development: Communication Planning.


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