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Nurturing Your Donor Relationships and Why It's Paramount

Working in the NGO department seems so different from working in a business whose main goal is profit. And the difference does exist in the core of the organisation, in its prime motivation, in what drives workers to show up every day. The purpose behind the everyday operations of an NGO is very different if you compare it to a Fortune 500 company. Having all of that in mind, there is one similarity, and it’s a pretty big one. It’s everything else.

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NGOs still have revenue streams, cash flows, unsatisfied customers, underperforming workers, facility issues and laws to obey. All of the stakeholders are present; a bit different, but still there. And some of the most important players in the game are the donors. The relationship an NGO has with its donors defines how successful that particular organisation is going to be.

There are many worthwhile causes one could donate to, and many organisations doing a fine job making a positive change in the world. The global landscape is ever-shifting, with new causes joining the old ones, as people keep causing global warming, starting wars, and engaging in all sorts of conflict. In order to make sure that your NGO is doing everything it can to impact the issue you hold dear, you need to shift your focus to the donors and establish a solid relationship.

Make Sure Your Donors Know Your Why at Any Given Time

The first step, before you even engage your donors, needs to be figuring out what is your why. As Simon Sinek explained in his well-acclaimed book, you need to start with why. What is the purpose of your organisation? What is the difference that you want to make in the world? Why does your company exist in the first place? Once you have all of this figured out, it’s time to communicate it with the donors.

Nurturing a good relationship is often based on the same interests, ideas, and values. If you communicate your purpose with your donors, they will relate to your goal much more easily. Make sure that they are aware of the bigger picture. Don’t let little tasks and everyday operations cloud the vision and the end goal. Your entire staff, as well as the donors, need to be aware of the WHY. Once you achieve this, the rest will easily fall into place.

Maintain the Relationship Strong with Meaningful Updates

Once you know your why, your donors need to know how you are going to achieve it. They are on board with the plan, they connect with the goal, they see the big picture. You have their full support. Now, what are you going to do with it? Now is the time to figure out how all that passion is going to translate into concrete, tangible activities, smaller goals and projects. And when you figure that out, you need to communicate it with the donors.

Your donors don’t need to know all of the details of your everyday operations. However, they should be aware of your activities, the milestones you are hitting, and the change you are making. There are various ways for you to achieve that. Many advocate the benefits of newsletters, as they should, since there are many. If that is not really your cup of tea, you can opt for standard e-mails, monthly meetings, or even social media. Just don’t forget to include your why in every aspect, both for your donors and for your employees.

Use Modern Technologies to Relieve the Pressure

Even if you are running a smaller, local NGO, everyday operations can be pretty stressful. Dealing with the issue you are trying to improve is difficult enough, not to mention the stress of managing your staff, taking care of the financials and maintaining close communication with the donors. Thankfully, there are many modern software solutions that can help you do a better job, with less expense and way less stress. Perhaps you aren’t used to searching for solutions to your problems in the IT industry, but stepping out of your comfort zone can be quite rewarding.

After you have nailed down your WHY and your HOW, what is left is WHAT. So, what exactly are you doing to nurture the relationship with your donors? We have an idea of what you should be doing to improve communication while using some of the most modern IT solutions. Have you heard of chatbots? There are many other nonprofits that use it!  They do it because it decreases the time required to get the right info, it enables growth of the donors’ satisfaction, and it relieves the employees so they can pursue more value-based tasks. Any idea that enables you to give your employees more meaningful, important tasks should be taken into consideration, since daily repetitive tasks are the biggest motivation killer.    

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Page last edited Apr 30, 2019 History

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