It’s that time of year again. Time to reach out to your donors to renew their support.
These conversations are always a bit uncomfortable. As they brace themselves going in, many Jewish leaders find themselves thinking:
I wish I’d done more this year to develop my relationship with this fellow. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so uncomfortable going into this conversation. And I’d definitely be more optimistic.
They start to brainstorm about ideas for the coming year - until they remember:
I just don’t have enough time for this. Where am I supposed to find room in my packed schedule to spend quality time with my donors?
What if these busy leaders - and you, their equally busy colleague - could have it both ways? What if there was a relationship-building method that only took up two to four hours a month?
Welcome to the touchpoint system.
Touch-points are small, “just-touching-base” actions that draw your donors closer. Make them feel appreciated. Show them how much good they’re doing.
We’re not talking about major tributes like dinner awards or expensive gifts. We’re talking about bite-sized chunks of connection, gratitude and recognition.
- Use the Chagim as an excuse to call donors. Call as many as you can to share gut-Yom-Tov wishes. If they don’t answer, leave a nice message.
- Instead of attempting to write one big (and overwhelming to you and them) annual report, write shorter update emails each quarter.
- Have some organization-related anecdotes or success stories to share? Share it as a Whatsapp voice message to your top 15 donors saying, “Here’s what you’ve enabled us to accomplish!”
- Making a simcha? Siyum, bris, upsherin, bar mitzvah, wedding? Invite donors personally - or just send a personal email sharing the good news.
- Keep track of your donors’ milestone events and send your good wishes. Know your donors’ birthdays? Find them out. Keep a stack of cards around so you can mail a nice note.
- On vacation? Send a postcard to a few top donors, letting them know that you’re thinking of them even though you’re away.
- Running a major program or event? Which top donors would appreciate being there? Personally invite these top donors.
- Capture footage - still or video - regularly throughout the year. Use this footage in various ways during the year with different segments of your support base.
These are just some examples of effective touch-points. Be creative when coming up with your own. Notice, though, that most touch-points on this list share one very important quality: they’re easy to plan ahead.
With a schedule as full as yours, you’ll need touch-points that are quick, easy, and efficient. Here’s how to streamline your touchpoint process as much as possible:
- At the beginning of the year, come up with ideas for twelve monthly touch-points. Don’t worry about using your imagination. Just look at your calendar - your organization’s, and your personal one - and craft touch-points based on what you already have planned.
- Block off time each month to actually roll out the touch-points. You shouldn’t need more than two to four hours per month.
These touchpoint ideas might seem intuitive. You might already be using many of them every so often. The chiddush here is in the planning. If you schedule touch-points in advance, they’ll happen regularly - and bring about steady growth in your donor relationships.
So that next year, you won’t have to dread those end-of-year conversations so much.
A freilichen Chanuka,