Excellent fundraisers know that fundraising is about a relationship with a donor. Since they're a "donor," the relationship is centered around their giving. But it is a relationship. That giving is linked to a donor's values and passions - things that make her uniquely human. And it's those values and passions that contribute to a genuine relationship.

Mapping out the relationship

One of the best tools I've found for helping us keep track of the relationship part of the "donor relationship" is in the Veritus Group's book It's Not (Just) About The Money. They share a Major Donor Dashboard that includes spaces for mapping out touches with each donor for a full year.

This mapping out really causes my coaching clients to stumble. Usually, they're conditioned to need an excuse to contact a donor - primarily because they only contact a donor when they're asking. So when they're looking at one or two asks but 10 - 11 more touches, they quickly run out of creativity.

What if you run out of creative things to do or say?

The good news? Relationships aren't a creativity contest. Relationships are about human beings relating to each other.

So when you're not sure what touch to give one of your top donors or prospects, why note write a simple JTOY note? "Just thinking of you."

It can be as simple as:

Hi Bob,

Just a note to say I was thinking of you today. Thanks for your ongoing support.

Marc

Short and sweet. It doesn't take a lot of time from your schedule or from theirs. But it's a note that most people don't get. Even from their own family.

Want to stand out from the crowd of all the other nonprofits asking your donors for money? Send them a JTOY note. Because while donor relationships are about the money, they're not only about the money. They are genuine relationships.

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