It’s hard to fathom, but before email and Facebook, people actually got together in person and caught up on the latest and greatest happenings in their lives. I grew up in Central Texas and had relatives in West Texas. The day after Christmas, my family packed up the car to go and see my great uncles, great aunts and cousins for our annual visit. It was our primary way to continue to connect with them, and to let them know how much they meant to us.
As fundraisers, the importance of visiting our prospects and donors in person still holds true. The personal visit powerfully communicates to our donors and friends how much they mean to us! An email or a Facebook message cannot take the place of a face-to-face visit.
Connecting personally to donors is an important and valuable strategy of cultivation and stewardship. As fundraisers, we are most likely the person the donors have the most interaction with and are “the face” of the organizations we represent. In order to bring donors and friends closer to our organizations, it is important to invest the time to get out of the office and connect with them. Even with our hectic schedules, it is essential to listen to our donors as they convey their ties to our mission and how they currently perceive the work of our nonprofits. The personal visit allows us to understand their values, their likes and dislikes. Many times, seeing their facial cues and hearing their voices, informs us when the time is right to ask for a gift. When you are on a visit remember to:
So, when it’s time to come up with your nonprofit’s development plan, make sure you include donor visits every month. Spending quality time with your donors will pay off in all aspects of development - inquisition, cultivation, stewardship, and solicitation. When you think it’s impossible to get away from email and Facebook, be brave, pack up the car, and let your best supporters know how much they mean to you by visiting them in person.
And don’t forget the snacks!
Bacon Lee & Associates