This post comes from the Gravyty Fundraising Academy, a series that examines how fundraisers adapt and strategize to evolve what's possible through philanthropy.
Your guide for the Gravyty Fundraising Academy is Director of Customer Success, Lisa Alvezi. Lisa has worked with countless fundraisers across Higher Education, Health Care, and Nonprofit organizations to transform fundraising. As a former frontline fundraiser herself, her goal is to help you see better results from your fundraising efforts.
Searching for Stimulus Donors
You might be a fundraiser if... you've ever woken up in the middle of the night and contemplated a stone that was left unturned – a gift that was left on the table. In the last 18 months of unprecedented pivots, strategy changes, staffing shortages, and more, I'm willing to guess that we all have opportunities we've yet to realize or take action on. In this week's Gravyty Fundraising Academy, we take a look at one of those opportunities – stimulus donors.
Most organizations saw some influx in the days and weeks following the delivery of economic impact checks, better known as stimulus checks. On the surface, these additional gifts may appear once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. But, if we dig deeper, you might be able to identify new segments of mid-level and major donors. These folks have identified themselves as people with money to give (they didn't need the stimulus) and with an affinity to your cause (or a special campaign you were running at the time).
Here are three steps to qualify stimulus donors into mid-level and major gift portfolios.
1. Timing Determines Your Segment.
Talk with Advancement Services, Research, or IS. Ask them to help you run a report on the folks who gave up to four weeks after the first wave of stimulus checks were issued. Look who gave up to four weeks after the first stimulus checks were issued. Then have them run a similar report for the subsequent stimulus checks. By cross-referencing these reports and identifying those who gave multiple times, you've identified folks with both affinity and a proven capacity to give.
But don't just focus on those who gave multiple times. Many stimulus donors have spread giving to numerous causes. Create a thorough suspect pool, prioritizing those who gave to your organization more than once.
2. Prepare Outreach As If You Were Running A Special Campaign.
Coach your gift officers and fundraisers on outreach to your stimulus donors, especially if these are first-time or annual fund donors. What you want to understand is why they chose to give to your organization with their stimulus check. Establish their emotional connection to your mission.
Additionally, this is another opportunity beyond your initial stewardship note to explain how their gift was applied, elaborate on the organization's current initiatives, and discuss their giving priorities.
3. Make A Personal Connection.
The nonprofits that establish personal connections with donors retain donors for repeat gifts – not just on an annual basis. I can't stress how important it is to rely on your natural talents and EQ as fundraisers to build genuine relationships with donors. Don't rely on a donor survey tool or a form letter to sufficiently say that you know what the donor believes or say they've been adequately stewarded.
Through personal outreach, donors attach themselves to your organization's cause, become strong advocates, and give over and over again. Not only does donor retention spike when fundraisers personalize their outreach, but relationships mature, and so does the giving pipeline as annual fund donors become mid-level donors, and mid-level donors become major donors.
If you’d like to learn more about how artificial intelligence can empower your organization to have a culture of philanthropy, personally reach new donors, and inspire giving at scale, click the button below and let's connect.