Like so many aspects of our lives this year, not-for-profit donor relations are changing. Donors have different expectations, and as not-for-profits fight for mindshare and share of wallet, evolving interactions with donors is more critical than ever.

On September 9, 2020 donor relations guru Lynne Wester spoke to hundreds of attendees on smart strategies non-profits can use to thrive in tumultuous times. In back-to-back keynote addresses, Lynne covered “The Four Pillars of Donor Relations”, and “Don’t let your Board be Bored by Donor Relations. You can access the recordings from our On-Demand Events.

Presented by Barnes Dennig, The Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Cincinnati Chapter and the Leadership Council for Nonprofits, as well as sponsors BBB Center for Ethics, KeyBank, Anne M. Maxfield, LLC – Nonprofit Consultant, Eagle Savings BankFifth Third BankGraydonHuntington BankPaycor, and Greater Cincinnati Nonprofit News, the 19th Annual Not-for-Profit Leadership Summit brought Lynne Wester’s game-changing insights to non-profits in the region.

Over the course of the two-hour session, Lynne focused heavily on the incredibly important need to focus on donor retention, especially in the face of our world’s dramatic changes.  The first session focused primarily on the four pillars that Not-for-Profit leaders can use as a foundation to build donor relationships and increase donor retention over time. Lynne laid out a straightforward plan for identifying and understanding the wants, needs, and must-haves for building impactful and lasting donor relationships.

The Four Pillars of donor relations are:

  1. Acknowledgement – Organizations should aim to have seven positive touch points with a donor before asking for another contribution. The top reason that a donor does not give again is that they are asked for more money too often.
  2. Stewardship and Reporting – Donors want to know the impact they are making with their contribution. Being transparent and publishing your outreach efforts can boost retention.
  3. Recognition – Inclusive recognition is growing more important in today’s society.
  4. Engagement – Engagement is the art of donor relations. This should be tied into the cultivation of your donor base for their next gift.

In her second keynote, Lynne covered the most important aspects of utilizing your board for donor relations, including:

  • Remember that your board members are not fundraising professionals. You must educate them on donor relations, how to build them, and how to increase donor retention.
  • More often than not, your board members may not be entirely comfortable soliciting donations – However, there are many other ways for them to build and retain donors without directly making the ask.
  • Giving gratitude to donors should consistently be a top priority of your board.
  • It’s no hidden fact that the majority of first-time donors never give again. Non-profits that use their boards as stewards to reach out to first time donors can greatly increase the retention rate.
  • It is crucial to remember that donors want access, information and experience. Board members are an excellent conduit for this information and these experiences.

Throughout the session, Lynne fielded a dazzling array of questions, providing insights and ideas to help non-profits thrive. Be sure to check out the recording of the event in the On-Demand Events section of our website to learn more about donor relations and how to more effectively engage your board in the donor experience.

Barnes Dennig’s dedicated Not-for-Profit team includes more than 40 professionals who have experience working with a wide array of not-for-profit and governmental organizations. We can help you maximize your resources and further your mission. If you’d like to talk to one of our non-profit accounting specialists at no charge, contact us or call  513-241-8313. We’re here to help.