“Don’t use my name, just be thankful you have my gift.”
How many times have you heard that from a longtime donor? Many are happy to give, but would prefer to remain out of the limelight. That reticence will hinder your efforts to secure future gifts from other potential donors.
One of the best ways to promote your Planned and Major Giving Programs is to let established donors articulate their reasons for donating. DONOR TESTIMONIALS speak to potential givers in a way you or your staff do not.
Getting private donors to open up and provide testimonials is not always easy. Some are shy, others private and many simply aren’t approached in a way that makes them eager to talk. In my experience, most donors WILL ultimately lend a hand. But you need to galvanize their support in the right way.
Here are some quick ideas you and your staff can try today to nudge donors towards providing a much-needed testimonial.
• Look at your Planned Giving donor list and select those who are most engaged with your organization.
• Give priority to those your organization has an established relationship with. Personalizing your approach will yield HUGE dividends.
• Call them to do a survey. As always, start by thanking them for their loyalty and commitment. Tell them you would like their feedback: “How are we doing?” “What can we do better to serve you as a donor?”
• Ask them for their help. Loyal donors who love your organization, like to help other people. Say to them, “I need your help. What you do for us is so meaningful, helpful and appreciated. We are finding that our donors are motivated and inspired by people like yourself and when they see what wonderful donors like you have done they are much more likely to do the same. Can I use some of the comments you shared with me today to inspire others to give?”
• Tell them you will focus on why they made the gift, not how. (Focusing on the WHY, not the what or the how, is a great approach for all your Planned Giving marketing!)
• If they agree, fantastic. Ask them to supply a photo of them doing something they enjoy. Your other donors want to see pictures and read stories of interesting people doing interesting things. An example might be a photo of your donor playing an instrument, gardening, walking their dog or painting.
• If the donor does not want to participate, thank them and remember it’s a number game. Move on to your next possibility! For every one “no,” there are many others who will provide feedback.
Once you get the testimonial, transfer this same approach to ALL of your marketing materials.
Whether it is through donor stories, photographs or ads, be sure to also feature people who benefit from the gifts. Such as, students who received tuition assistance from an endowed scholarship, grateful patients who got the treatment they needed at a recently funded clinic or citizens who receive lifesaving help from a social not-for-profit. Put a human face on the positive results of giving to promote maximum engagement with your prospects.
Don’t let a “no” prevent you and your staff from gathering DONOR TESTIMONIALS. It is often the best way to trigger another gift.
Have a plan, make it personal, create an exercise to engage these donors, show them how much you care and continue to follow through.