Thursday, January 8, 2009

Donor Relations

"Philanthropy is like dating." You have to form a relationship and get to know the person that you are dealing with. Just as you wouldn't ask someone to marry you on the first date, it takes time to build a relationship with a donor before you can ask for the big gift. It take time and attention to detail. Sometimes the most mundane thing can offend or excite. Here is one of my favorite examples.

A regional theatre hired a development director for the first time. She noticed something odd during her first direct mail campaign. One donor sent a check for $100 minus the cost of postage (so in this day and age the check would be for $99.58).

Our heroine did a little research. In looking back at the donor's history, she saw that he was very loyal. He had given the exact same amount over the past 10 years - always $100 minus the cost of postage.

So she took a chance and on the next year's direct mail, she included a stamp on this particular donor's return envelope. The attention paid off. That year the donor's check was for $1,000 and he also wrote her a note. "Thank you for including a stamp."

Happy Birthday: Michelle Forbes (b. 1965) and Sarah Polley (b. 1979)

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