Cultivation pays

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Quite smugly, I admit, I am reporting that this year I project managed my organisations most successful Christmas appeal of all time. And (again smugly) I report that money is still coming in and currently we have raised more than triple our original target.

Was it a ground-breakingly original campaign? No.

Did we get hundreds of new donors? No.

Was it more expensive and higher quality than previous appeals? No.

Was it a hugely different format to previous appeals? No.

So how, you may be wondering, did it become such a successful campaign?

The answer, quite simply is; Cultivation and engagement throughout the year. Over the last two years I have taken our donors and members from being, un-cultivated and disengaged to informed, engaged and supportive!

I strongly believe that the success of this Christmas appeal can be accredited to taking measures to really nurture donor relationships throughout the year.

How did I do this? Well, here is a list;

  • Hand-writing thank you letters to ALL donors (no matter the size of gift)
  • Reporting back to donors after the appeal to tell them what their money made possible
  • Inviting donors to non-ask events, which allow them to find out more about our work without feeling the pressure to give
  • Personalising comms!
  • Training the CEO in thank-you phone calls and ensuring time is set aside to call all major donors promptly after gifts are made
  • Training Trustees on what it means to be ‘involved in fundraising’ and ensuring these actions are carried out
  • Remembering that donors are people and they appreciate being treated like friends, not ATMs

If you have a fundraising resolution this year, make it cultivation, because cultivation and engagement pay off with long-term, loyal donors.

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