Not-for-profit organizations depend on the financial support of individuals and corporate donors, and whether you realize it or not, a pledge can be the beginning of a long-term relationship with your organization. Or, as Humphrey Bogart so eloquently put it, a donation to support your cause can be "the start of a beautiful friendship."
Unfortunately, many organizations struggle to find the time to establish relationships with donors. Phone calls, people dropping by, employee issues, and e-mails seem like a giant time-sucking machine that descends from the ceiling in your office and vacuums the life out of your day. With corporate and individual donors struggling financially, building relationships with your supporters has never been more important.
Here are some tips for building highly effective relationships with your support base. Treat the following suggestions as a checklist to see how your organization is doing on the proactive-relationship development front:
Your organization's management and board can also have a huge impact on the success of the development process. Establishing goals and expectations is important, but providing fun incentives like a day off or special recognition at a board meeting can make proactive-relationship development fun and effective.
In today's environment, a renewed commitment to expanding and acquiring relationships should be at the top of every not-for-profit's list of priorities. As industry trends change, any business that does not change the way it operates will be short-lived. It's time for your organization to examine closely what you are doing to meet the new challenges ahead.
Kevin Strickland, Not for Profit Group© 2011, Not for Profit Group
Kevin Strickland is president of the Not for Profit Group, a consultancy dedicated to helping not-for-profit organizations build effective development strategies. They have created a series of videos teaching key strategies for establishing a relationship-based development process. GuideStar Premium subscribers and GuideStar Exchange members receive a 20 percent discount on videos.
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