Monday, January 11, 2010

Nonprofit May I

Create Next Steps

Like the children’s game, Mother May I, do you offer a variety of steps to help donors increase their knowledge, commitment and connection to your organization? Or, do you hope they meet you and just write a large check? Most donors will take baby and middle steps, before giant ones. Donors who give significant amounts from the start are a welcome exception. Your future will be solid if you base it on regular, predictable events. Therefore, offer many varied baby, medium and giant steps.

Here is one example of a successful series of steps:

1. You meet a couple.
2. You send them your monthly newsletter.
3. They attend an event.
4. They volunteer once per month.
5. They give $25 in response to your annual appeal letter.
6. You thank them. And invite them to a donor’s-only event.
7. They don’t attend, but continue to volunteer and next year send a second $25. You thank them.
8. You have coffee with them at your site, a time to get to know one another better. You learn that one of their parents was served by a branch of your organization during a crisis. And you learn of their interest cactus, War Eagles (Auburn) and travel to New Zealand. You thank them.
10. You send them an article on New Zealand.
11. You make a personal call to invite them to the donor’s only event. They attend.
12. They give $100 in response to your annual appeal letter. You thank them.
13. You interview them and include information about them in your newsletter in an article highlighting volunteers.
14. They pledge $5,000 to your capital campaign . . .

As you start your new year, examine opportunities you offer and consider if you need to add any new steps, either baby, middle or giant to help your donors move closer to you. For help, see
While this article focuses on grant donors the ideas shared are applicable to all.

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