Non-personal donor cultivation

March 11, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Donor cultivation requires a personal touch that keeps organization and donor in contact but that keeps the donor happy throughout the year.

The personal connection is important, but in her book “Donor Cultivation and the Donor Lifecycle Map” Deborah Kaplan Polivy makes the point that non-personal donor cultivation tools also play an important part in the fundraising universe. They are aimed more at groups than individuals, but they can be combined with personal approaches.

Kaplan Polivy suggests the following as non-personal donor cultivation tools:

  • Send up-to-date information, for example, through magazines and newsletters. Many experts believe the paper format still plays an important part in nonprofit communications.
  • Create a brochure. Booklets or pamphlets can tell an organization’s story and explain how funds are used.
  • Produce events. Events are productions; they take staff and volunteer time, but they can be used for a purpose.
  • Communicate through social media. This is about influence.
  • Recognize donors publicly. Recognition is another way to say “Thank you” but remember that not all donors want to be recognized publicly.
  • Send annual reports. These consume resources, but they are a chance to present the entire story of the organization. Kaplan Polivy considers it an organization’s most important publication.
  • Use complementary and available public media outlets, for example, newspapers and radio stations. These are essential for telling the public the story of the organization’s successes.