Strong relationships are the cornerstone of success for any non-profit. Without a strong network, any support you receive will be fleeting and not much help. With a few changes, even the smallest non-profits can build strong relationships with donors and secure more support for their work.
The non-profit sector, much like the whole society, is usually inclusive of all groups. It is where the government, private sector, and civil society come together. Until 2018, the non-profit sector in Saudi Arabia was only made up of two types of entities: Non-profit organizations and charitable institutions. The latter type alone was four times as large as the former, according to the National Center for Non-Profit Sector. Vision 2030 then came to change the scene and push the pace of growth in the nonprofit sector, making it one of the most crucial components of societal development and securing a prominent position for it in the national agenda.
It’s important to constantly work on building and strengthening relationships with potential and existing donors or supporters in order to find grants to support your non-profit organization. The ways to maintain relationships with donors will depend on the size of your organization and its goals. These tasks should vary depending on what's necessary for your particular non-profit, but in most cases sending monthly or weekly reports are key to maintaining trust and keeping the relationship strong.
In general, most successful non-profit organizations prioritize six strategies for building relationships with their donors that last. These are the main strategies you should be aware of, and how they apply to your own non-profit:
1- Add a personal touch
Addressing your donors in a personalized way is a good way of showing that you care about them. It's essential to be careful when contacting them because misspelled names, wrong information, or inappropriate material can have a negative effect on your relationship with them. It's important to give them this personal touch that lets them know just how valued and appreciated they are.
2- Maintain communication
Making contact with your donors on a regular basis is key to maintaining a good relationship with them. Try to make contact at least once or twice every month and stay in regular touch through email or a call - it will let donors know you're invested in updating them but also ensure you can keep building on that relationship.
3- Showcase their impact
Keep your donors informed about where their funding is going, how it’s helping to make a direct impact, and the way that their values align with your efforts. Providing a transparent review of the goals you’ve achieved, the number of beneficiaries you’ve helped, and a growth strategy for the future will make donors confident in their decision to support your non-profit.
A good way to show your donors some appreciation is to include their names in your non-profit's periodic publications and on the organization's website. You should also thank them for what they've done and let them know how you're using their generous contributions. Expressing gratitude and appreciation is important in maintaining a healthy relationship with your donors. A lack of it will eventually lead to the loss of their future support.
5- Ask for recommendation letters
One of the most effective ways to communicate with new potential donors is to ask existing donors to introduce you, request recommendation letters (or reference letters) or anything that would help summarize the relationship and work your non-profit organization has done. Most successful organizations require this type of letter since it shows the non-profit has high credibility. It also encourages and strengthens your relationships with current donors as they would be more likely to support an active and dynamic organization with aspirational plans.
6- Utilize your network
When getting in touch with existing and potential donors and sponsors, consider asking more prominent board members to arrange meetings for you. They may have close relationships with corporations or foundations that could be interested in your non-profit's cause and could invest in the well being of your cause. It's well-known that cultivating positive relationships can create a solid foundation for donors to engage with your nonprofit, and utilizing your network to help you achieve that is a great way to start.
Building good relationships with donors requires a few key strategies that have proven to be more successful than others. Be sure to carefully choose the right approach for you and your donor since it’s crucial to manage your relationships to ensure that your non-profit organization has the best opportunity of achieving its goals.