The Rule of 7’s: How to convert your donors into raving fans

Saying thank-you never goes out of style. Fundraising is simply good manners; donors want to know that their contributions are appreciated and will be used for the exact purpose that the donor intends. Thank-you’s are also an opportunity to build a relationship with the donor and have the potential to catapult into additional and hopefully larger gifts. With the large number of non-profits in the community, it is important to differentiate your organization from others and build donor loyalty.

Experts recommend connecting with your donor seven times during the year so that when you are ready to make an ask the following year, a donor is confident in your mission and leadership. This simple yet effective concept is known as the rule of 7’s. Start by creating a calendar and map out touch points where you can further educate and engage your donors.

Initial Thank-You:
The thank-you is the first step to building the relationship with the donor and is also the donor’s first impression of your fundraising team. If you are using a form letter, it never hurts to write a simple handwritten note on the letter with a personalized message.

Invitation to Program Events:
New donors may not a lot about your programs or services so inviting them to your program events is a great educational opportunity to further tell your organization’s story. Both large scale and intimate events can work well, the important thing is for the donor to see your programs in action.

The newsletter (or e-newsletter) is a great way to highlight all the good your organization is doing in your community. It is also an opportunity to highlight program success stories, donors, and donors.

In Person Meeting:
Meeting with a donor is a great listening opportunity to get to know the donor and intimately build your relationship with them. Find out what programs in your organization are important to the donor, how they came to your organization, plus information about their family, hobby, and interests. These details can be invaluable as you are cultivating a donor for bigger asks in the future.

Hand Written Notes:
Never underestimate the power of a hand-written note, especially if it is a thank-you from a client. Most people only get bills and junk mail in their mail box which will make your note stand out in their mind.

Program Tour:
Tours provide an insiders look into your organization but also educate and inform donors about all that happens at your facility. Schedule a client and/or volunteer to accompany you on the tour to provide a program because they are your biggest fans and can help tell the story of your organization.

Birthday Card:
A birthday card celebrates the donor and let them know that you care about them outside of the donor outside of their donation. They can be sent via mail or electronically, but if you send them electronically make sure they don’t get caught in a spam filter.

By following these simple steps, your donors will be more familiar with your mission and be more willing to give by the time you send your year-end appeal.