Treat Donors Like Investors

It was a great honor to speak at the Millennial Donors Summit this week on social fundraising (discussion and presentation here). There were so many excellent speakers, and some great round-up posts have already been drafted. Perhaps one of biggest — if not the biggest — take-aways in the conversation was the incredible need to report results back to them. In essence, we need to treat our donors like investors.

Yet, do we? Even when it comes to storytelling and online communications method we as an industry seem to drop the ball after a transaction is made.

It is clear that the next generation of donors wants more. As the Millennial Donors Research shows, 70% of all millennials want results reported to them. This is the second biggest determining factor for millennials seeking to make a donation.

We need to follow up. We need to show donors what is being done with their investment. This makes them feel like the time, energy and money invested in you and your cause where worth it. This also dramatically increases the possibility of repeat donations.

In addition, when someone invests in you, the right thing to do is thank them. It makes them feel like their effort was worthwhile. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote a book called, The Thank You Economy specifically about this critical customer oriented approach. Check it out.

In this area, it pays to simply thank them, too. Have you ever received an email or letter that thanks you, and hits you up for more money? Yeah. It pays to simply say thank you, report results, and THEN ask for more money.

This two-step follow-through — thank you and report results — is an essential part of the fundraising process. It is the critical point where we move from transactions to relationships. It is when we stop treating donors like cattle, and start treating them like investors.