Cultivating Spring

porches

In addition to giving us incentive to get our house in order, spring also draws us out from the indoors. We look out our clean windows and notice more runners and bikers or we see parks occupied with play instead of frosty stillness. Neighbors linger on porches again and we all stop scurrying so quickly back to our cars, offices and homes.

 Use that human longing to reconnect with our outdoors and each other to your advantage this month. For all those donors that came through for you at year-end or holiday appeal time, reach out to them with some springtime messages of hope. For all those grantors that funded the school year’s start, reconnect with them now before “senioritis” sets in. For all your major gift prospects that you may be reaching out to in summer or fall, get in touch with a quick reminder of their impact on your mission.

 Many charities make the mistake of only reaching out when they have news: a new program, a new student or, as ever, a new need. Make use of this time for reconnecting with a donor-centered approach. This is less about you and more about them. A chance to remind them how much they mean to your organization. Be sure they know they are valued year round.

 Organizing or editing a formal update or newsletter can be time-consuming. Waiting for the perfect message, perfect update or most elaborate strategy can delay a real human connection. Reach out. Connect. Quickly and genuinely. Consider just picking up the phone or, my favorite, a hand written note with a simple message.

 Think about a note from the Chairman, CEO or CDO to a dozen top donors mentioning that while the “winter holidays seem like a distant memory now that the snow melted, I remain grateful to you for supporting our year-end appeal. Or how “seeing the children studying/playing outside again reminded me of your generosity in providing resource for the new playground equipment last summer.  Or that “the new roof gives us confidence that we can remain open during this spring storms this year – that confidence is priceless and reminded me of your kindness in funding the roof’s installation last year. Think of all the way your donor’s last gift is keeping your mission in motion today. Remind them of that impact. No, their impact. (Consider also doing this with a lead volunteer or important vendor who perhaps helped save some costs last year.)

Reaching out to someone when you don’t need a gift nurtures the relationship and honors their legacy. The personal connection is why your donors are giving in the first place. Keep nurturing that commitment. After all, spring is the perfect time to tend to such cultivation activities.

This column was created  by:
Carrie Provenzale, Senior Consultant
Carrie has served as the non-profit community for over 15 years.  Carrie has held Chief Development, Individual Giving and Grant writing positions at a number of significant organizations including Rainbows, Make-A-Wish and Mercy Home.  Carrie’s professional skill, strategic vision, strong writing ability and positive outlook have led many nonprofit organizations to achieve stronger results.
Headquartered in Chicago, Laurus Strategies has a passion for helping nonprofits advance their mission. Laurus Strategies’ Non Profit and Public Affairs Consulting Group provides a wide range of fundraising, strategic planning, training and leadership services with a proven track record of success. Together, the team has over 80 years of experience and has helped clients raise over $650,000,000.

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