The nonprofit community has many different ways to achieve their vision.  Often financial support is key as well as volunteering time and effort.

While fundraising is often the topic that receives the most attention, by itself, it is not enough to reach the goals of the organization.

Development teams typically focus their efforts on identifying and cultivating potential donors and others who will offer the financial contributions that enable the nonprofit to survive and serve its clients.   

But without deeply engaged and involved group of volunteers, the long term success of an organization is questionable. In the future, in addition to fundraising there needs to be a disciplined focus on providing supporters with a rewarding and engaging experience.  That goes beyond making a donation.  An organization that wants to build a sustainable legacy, will rely on the help of a dedicated board of trustees, committee members, volunteers at large and others who enable the group to function.

But how does a nonprofit build those essential connections?

At the start, the leaders must ask themselves this essential question:  “How do we make sure the donor or benefactor experience is a rewarding and engaging one?”

Building a committed support system requires a very personal approach that is time consuming. But nonetheless, it is crucial for the long term success of the organization!

Understand Why

Understanding what excites the people who are supporting your organization is obviously very important. What is not so obvious is why the individual began to support your organization in the first place. There is most often a personal connection to the organization that goes deeper than a conversation regarding a financial commitment.  The “why” is important because it is driven by emotion and a genuine connection that is guaranteed to create deeper and more meaningful engagement with your biggest champions.  

Get People Involved

Every one of your supporters has skills and talents unique to them. Each person has something to offer - and it is your job as a nonprofit leader to put the players in the right positions to help your organization succeed. By utilizing the skills of your supporters, you end up in a win-win situation. As you provide them with the unique opportunity to add real value and make an impact, you are also providing them with the chance to enjoy a fulfilling experience.  At the same time, the organization benefits from the volunteer’s willingness to share knowledge and expertise.  Smaller nonprofits may not have the necessary resources for implementing a new marketing initiative, leveraging social media, assisting with an event, gathering items for a silent auction – or any one of a number of tasks that occur on a daily basis. That’s the advantage of a powerful volunteer network! It is these committed people who make all this happen as they are asked to do more than go beyond making dollar donations.

In today’s very busy world, every nonprofit organization must find ways to engage with the community it serves and continue to build and nourish that engagement with its key supporters.

By understanding what is driving the supporters’ interest, by recognizing the “why” behind the supporters’ donation, the nonprofit leaders can begin to understand how to foster the relationships and take them to higher levels.