A first impression for big donor prospects

The perception often is that major donors are reached only through face-to-face contact and that the Web is for middle- to low-range donors.

Certainly the Web is important for reaching out to a lot of people, but Howard Freeman, senior campaign director at Young Life’s Greater New York division, maintains that potential major donors, whether they give online or in another way, check an organization’s Website before making a donation.

With that in mind, Freeman suggests several ideas for making the most of a first impression for a big-time donor.

  • Craft an “About Us” page. Donors want to know about the people who will steward their financial gifts. Include a two- or three-sentence biography and photo, if possible, for each key staff person, board member and volunteer leader.
  • Display the organization’s mission, vision and values. As clearly and concisely as possible, explain who at the organization is, what it cares about and its approach to solving a particular social problem.
  • Tell stories. Tell stories that exemplify the organization’s impact.
  • Link Form 990s from the past three years. Offering these, instead of making prospects chase them, is a form of transparency that builds trust.
  • Provide multiple ways to engage. Many donors compare the ease of making a donation with the ease of purchasing a product online.