Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Building lifelong relationships

This phrase is heard often in our development office.

It's not about a donation.

It's not about a check.

It's not about someone attending one of our events.

Everything we do is all about building a lifelong relationship between someone and our agency. To take their care for what we do and build from that. To take their interest in our mission and vision and grow it.

Lifelong relationships. Lifelong partnerships.

We are similar to many organizations in that we have donors who have given for several years and typically give the same amount around the same time of the year. We have donors who for some reason or another stopped giving last year or even several years ago. We don't know why.

We don't know why because we never asked. What we do now is try to engage with donors as much as possible. If you typically make a donation in May, then we hope to chat with you in April. If we know that you received our latest appeal and our latest newsletter yet haven't heard from you in over a year, then we check in. That might look like a personal note or an email. Just a simple check in.

I always have believed in the best intent of people who donate to us. After having made over one hundred calls to donors just since I started a couple of months ago, I know that our donors are just as busy as we are and in most cases cannot believe that it has already been or year or so since they made their last donation.

Time flies. For us, and for our donors.

Recently I decided to spend the night out on the streets of Denver to get a small glimpse into what the youth we serve go through every day. You can check out my previous post if you'd like to read about that. Taking that story and that experience and sharing it with donors has very much added to our relationships. Donors want to know what's happening at your organization. They want to know about the ups and downs, the successes and the challenges.

They also want to know how you spent their money. This is huge when creating lifelong relationships. After we receive a donation, we make a quick cal to thank them, which is followed up by their thank you/tax letter. A few months later we send them another letter that tells them how we spent their donation.

Hello lifelong relationship.

The biggest reason I know about the power of all of this in building relationship is that this is how I want to be treated as a donor. I want to know how things are going and I want to know how you spent my money.

Thanks for reading. I would love your feedback. My email is dan.hanley@urbanpeak.org

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