Mari-Anne Kehler is a partner at Green Hasson Janks in Los Angeles and leads the firm’s strategy, business development and marketing. Her book Putting the Profit in Nonprofit was a #1 e-book bestseller on Amazon. Mari-Anne has been active on boards and building programs in the areas of disability rights, fundraising and mentoring other advocates for over two decades.

Mari-Anne Kehler is a partner at Green Hasson Janks in Los Angeles and leads the firm’s strategy, business development and marketing. Her book Putting the Profit in Nonprofit was a #1 e-book bestseller on Amazon. Mari-Anne has been active on boards and building programs in the areas of disability rights, fundraising and mentoring other advocates for over two decades.

It might seem like most donors are big foundations or businesses, but according to CauseVox, 80 percent of donors are individuals. This is why it is important for nonprofits to develop strategies focused on building their individual donor base. Below are some tips that may seem simple but are too often overlooked or ignored by nonprofit organizations.

Categorize Donors and Build Relationships

Build a list of potential donors. According to sgENGAGE, data on nonprofits’ databases and mailing lists should provide solid leads. Then define why each potential donor is interested in the nonprofit. Reasons include:

• Know someone affected by the cause

• Know someone involved they would like to spend time with

• Want to make a difference

• Aligns with their values

• Business motivation (building resume, networking or gaining leadership experience)

It is also important to track how invested they and if they feel a personal connection.

Monetize Relationships

Continuous communication through personal contact, newsletters, blogs, podcasts and emails is the building block for great relationships. Additionally, create individualized action plans centered on validating specific needs or wants. For example, if the potential donor is a fan of a particular art form, make sure they have special invitations and seats to performances. The key is to expose them to what ties them to the organization’s mission.

According to Forbes, just asking for donations constantly can be off-putting, so arrange “special moments,” such as private lunches or special performances. These make the inevitable ask easier because the organization has gone the extra mile to build a strong relationship. And be sure to say “thank you” often.

Take Action

Because it takes great relationships to generate great donations, there are a few things to keep in mind to be successful:

• Repeat: Every person should know the mission and repeat it often.

• Understand: Know the donors and their motivations and appeal directly to that.

• Connect: Create deeper connections to potential donors by telling personal stories about one’s own reasons for supporting.

• Proof: Use performance statistics to make the case and build credibility.

• Credibility: Produce a steady stream of communications and have leaders speak at events and participate in public service groups.

• Leverage: Ask donors for referrals and to reach out to their networks on the non profit’s behalf.

• Ask: Request donations through letters, calls, meetings, fundraising events, GoFundMe campaigns and more.

• Cultivate: Get in early, even if donors are not presently in a position to give, such as creating young professional groups that build loyalty.

Remember that donors are actually investors in a social cause. Supporting the organization is a way for them to help meet a need, so always make sure they see how their investment pays off.

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