Are you feeling the love? 

What’s that you ask? Were you thinking that providing donor love was only for individual donors?

Well, not true. Corporate donor love – often called stewardship, is for corporate donors too.

It is my opinion that many fundraisers see it as the final step in the relationship or fundraising cycle. Instead of thinking of appreciation as the wrap-up, you should start with and make it the most important stage of the fundraising cycle, whether your first proposal is successful or not.

Not all proposals are successful, and it is what you do in between proposals that build the relationship.

Charities should stay in regular contact with their current and prospective donors, building upon previous communications. Focusing on creative donor love and outreach can lead to new corporate partnerships or the renewal of previous corporate support. 

5 Tips for Providing Donor Love:

1. It’s about them: Get to know your prospects and partners by following them on social media. Find out what they’re doing so you can reach out during meaningful moments.

2. Make friends: Add a personal touch when calling or emailing so you can engage with them on more than just a professional level. It is about connecting person to person. How do you do this? Share a little about your family life, like your most recent vacation, about your children or even your pets. You don’t have to be best friends but being friendly can go a long way. 

3. Add personality: Add a funny gif, Bitmoji or personal anecdote to your email. This will help you to follow up in a way that just adds a smile to their day.

4. Add value: Engage with them by sending them something that would be of interest or value to them, like an article, story, or a statistic that’s relevant to their work.

5. Show consistent appreciation: Consistently sharing your appreciation to corporate partners for their support of your organization is important all year long. The best ways are also not the most expensive, elaborate or “perfect”! 

Awesome outreach ideas to get you thinking:

  • Show your appreciation with a short video, a card in the mail, or a short testimonial. No need to overdo the formality, the sentiment is what’s important.
  • Say thanks with a cute poem on Twitter and pairing it with a photo or Canva graphic if you can.
  • Invite your donor’s employees for a “coffee break” and introduce them to someone your organization serves or a dynamo from your program team, so they can learn more about what you do.
  • Send a video of your organization’s services in action. Try to include your donor’s logo somewhere.
  • Email them a short impact story about a project or initiative they’ve supported so they can share it with their team.
  • Have your ED or staff team say thank you on social media.
  • Drop by with coffee and a treat if you are in the neighbourhood.
  • Invite a corporate partner to an upcoming conference, workshop, or lunch, virtual or not, that you think they will enjoy and will show you’ve listened to their interests.
  • Have volunteers or staff call to say you appreciate them.
  • Send along a slideshow of their employees in action if they’ve volunteered with you.
  • Have those that you serve, send them a thank you card or leave a phone message.
  • Mail them a pack of seeds with a note about how much you appreciate their support in helping your organization grow, bloom or flourish.

Remember to reach out, follow up and to find consistent ways to build relationships. It is the little things that will make the biggest difference!

So many of you are doing this already, so share below some more examples with me on Twitter @heathernelson12. Together we can demonstrate that corporate #donorlove is not an afterthought!

You’ve got this!

Heather Nelson
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