Relationships Rule; Make Yours Count

As a nonprofit, developing lasting contacts with donors and grantors is essential because it’s relationships that carry the day.

Never Have Just One Point of Contact

What we often see at the Hind Foundation is that grantors only have direct communication with the Executive Director or an individual in an equivalent role. The problem? If that single point of contact leaves the organization, all of the existing grantor relationships with leave with him or her, which can be fatal to an organization. To overcome this common dilemma, share knowledge and put processes in place.

Share Knowledge

It is essential that the President and board members are aware of all relationships, inquiries, and grants in process. Most importantly, multiple board members should be in contact with donors either through visits, phone conversations, or other correspondence.

Put Processes in Place

When things get busy, it’s easy to have poor internal communications, which results in poor communication and slacking relationships with donors. The key to overcoming this too common obstacle is to put internal processes in place to ensure that you maintain necessary relationships. Here are 5 processes we suggest you implement in your policies and procedures:

  1. If a key personnel is leaving your organization, large donors should be notified by a titled person of your organization prior to any public announcement.
  2. Staff should be aware of important donors to ensure that all contact with that donor is consistent. You need to make sure staff recognizes the importance of their potential contribution so that the donor feels the significant impact they have in your organization.
  3. Give monthly updates on all projects that the donor is interested in, and assign occasional correspondence by an staff member or President/VP to discuss the project.
  4. Even after the grant has been awarded, contact with the donor should be maintained. Sending standard mailers requesting donations that are bulk mailed doesn’t qualify as staying in touch, even if one handwrites a personal note on the form mailer.
Greg Hind
Hind Foundation