February 14th has come to symbolize love, care and blessings in America — which makes for the perfect holiday to strategically cultivate and steward key donors and prospects.
Several weeks ago, I made a list of my former donors with whom I wish to remain connected. Many will probably not be receiving anything on Valentine’s Day. The list includes widows and widowers, those recently divorced and those not presently in committed romantic relationships. The key to major gift fundraising is personal relationships. And there’s no better way to build that relationship than to ensure your donor is not overlooked but remembered and made to feel special. Who among your donor rolls may be recently widowed and without their “Valentine” for the first time? Who is the confirmed bachelor or bachelorette that may secretly long to be remembered on a holiday that often passes them by? Chances are, your donor rolls are full of these people.
Suggested outreach efforts for all budgets:
- Heart-shaped cookie from Cheryl & Co. delivered to their mailbox
- Box of goodies from a local chocolatier
- Invitation to join you and several others for a heart-themed meal celebrating the bond of love between friends
- For the sentimental widow, a wonderful afternoon outing that can include something fun and whimsical – banana splits, art museum tour, shopping
- Costco-sized bag of their favorite M&M’s or candies with a creative heart-shaped bow attached
- Peppermint-striped orchids or amaryllis with their white and red blooms, tulips, or the classic: roses
- And always a hit, chocolate-dipped strawberries presented on a silver platter.
Win: Remembering your donor.
Huge Win: Using your creativity to make a lonely donor feel loved!
Ben’s Takeaway: If you get to know your donor as you should, you can personalize a gift at any holiday. This makes them feel that you recognize them as an individual, and not just another name on a list.