What It Really Means To “Build Relationships” With Potential Donors

Discover the four dimensions of donor cultivation in this 4-part strategy mini-series by Brooke Richie-Babbage. Learn to build trust for nonprofit growth.

In this 4-part strategy mini-series about dimensions of donor cultivation, I break down what it truly means to build relationships with your donors. Over the past 20 years, I’ve learned that the essence of successful fundraising lies in understanding and implementing the four dimensions of donor cultivation: knowledge, understanding, affinity, and trust. I’ll walk through the reason this is such an important topic to focus on, and I’ll break down the what and the how of each dimension of donor cultivation.

What You’ll Learn

  • The four key dimensions of donor cultivation and their significance.
  • Practical strategies to deepen donor relationships and engagement.
  • How to build trust and demonstrate impact effectively.

Key Takeaways on Dimensions of Donor Cultivation

  1. Knowledge: Ensure potential donors know your mission, values, and programs.
  2. Understanding: Help donors comprehend your theory of change and the effectiveness of your strategies.
  3. Affinity: Cultivate a shared affinity for your mission and create a sense of community.
  4. Trust: Demonstrate your ability to achieve your goals through evidence of impact and strategic planning.
  5. Engagement: Regularly communicate your successes and involve donors in meaningful ways.

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Knowledge:
    • Share your mission, values, and strategic goals.
    • Utilize your website, newsletters, and strategic documents to communicate essential information.
    • Tailor your message to different donor archetypes.
  2. Understanding:
    • Articulate your theory of change clearly.
    • Use impact reports and visual aids to demonstrate how your programs work.
    • Include case studies and examples that illustrate your methods and decisions.
  3. Affinity:
    • Engage donors through events and experiences that foster a sense of community.
    • Share relevant content that aligns with their interests and values.
    • Use newsletters to provide stories and updates that resonate with your donors’ passions.
  4. Trust:
    • Provide data and evidence of your impact regularly.
    • Outline clear and specific priorities and goals.
    • Highlight endorsements and support from other donors, partners, and stakeholders.
    • Share success stories and testimonials from those you’ve impacted.

Links to Each Episode in the Mini-Series

Connect With Brooke:

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