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Nonprofit fundraising and building donor trust.

Fundraising & Building Donor Trust

In recent years, many nonprofits have experienced an increased need for their services or a demand to address important societal issues such as equality, food insecurity or mental health. Although there seems to be more of a public call to support nonprofits and social concerns, donors have become more selective in the organizations they support philanthropically. In some cases that is due to less financial resources available to donate. The turn of the decade has caused many individuals to be more cautious about where and how they spend money. Inflation has resulted in people spending more money on everyday purchases such as groceries, housing, repairs and other services. This leaves less for individuals to support local nonprofits with a charitable gift. In addition, increased fraud and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) practices have left some individuals more skeptical about the nonprofits they support. These factors leave nonprofits needing to build trust with their prospects and donors.

Nonprofit fundraising and building donor trust.

Here are some ways to build trust:

  1. Show your community impact

    Donors increasingly want to know what type of impact their financial gift is making to help your organization serve its constituents. For example, “Your gift of $50 helped us feed an additional 10 families of four. ”Donors who feel their gift is making an impact will continue to support your organization with future charitable gifts.

  2. Personalize communication

    No appeal letter, gift acknowledgment or electronic communication should begin with the salutation: “Dear friend”. We are well past the days of general salutations. These communications sound as if they were written by a computer and will most likely get ignored by the recipient. If an individual has donated to your organization previously, you must know who they are and their interests in your nonprofit. Communication should be segmented by target audiences such as volunteers, annual donors, major donors, event participants, etc. Each audience should receive customized communications that are geared toward their interests and relationship with your organization.

  3. Secure payments for online giving

    Individuals are now more aware of fraud or theft, particularly through online transactions. Make sure your systems are secure to allow donors to make a gift online through a website, online auction, text or social media.

  4. Acknowledge gifts promptly

    The last thing a donor wants to wonder is if your nonprofit has received their charitable gift. For online transactions, sending an automatic acknowledgment letter will ensure that the electronic payment was completed. Follow up online gift transactions with a personalized letter of receipt. These should include the elements noted above in personalizing the letter to the donor and showing the financial impact of their gift to your organization. It is best practice to acknowledge charitable gifts within 48 hours of the receipt of the gift.

Interested in learning more tactics for building donor trust? Listen to our latest AMPed Up Podcast, How a Writer Approaches Fundraising Content or contact AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising by calling 319-268-9151 or by using our contact form.

Written by:

Melissa provides fundraising counsel for AMPERAGE’s nonprofit clients, leading feasibility studies and providing solutions that drive successful fundraising campaign results. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), she uses her experience and extensive skill set to continually advance her fundraising practices and develop campaign-specific strategies, materials and training to help clients reach their campaign goals and advance their mission. Melissa has vast experience working in the nonprofit sector, having served in development and leadership roles with Sisters of Mercy and the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, she has served as a volunteer and board member with local nonprofits, such as the Catherine McAuley Center. Faith-based organizations and causes are of particular interest to Melissa. Melissa moves the needle by always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve professionally. She is currently president of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council and a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Eastern Iowa Chapter. Melissa holds a Master of Strategic Leadership degree from Mount Mercy University. This busy professional, wife and mother enjoys sports and live music in her free time. A fan of Cubs baseball and Iowa Hawkeye football, Melissa and family enjoy football tailgating, where she’s known for her breakfast burritos. She enjoys the local band scene but says a Foo Fighters concert is her all-time favorite.