Taking an Early, Proactive Approach to Donor Engagement

Donor engagement doesn’t happen by chance or overnight. You need sufficient time to develop a donor engagement strategy that addresses not only the upcoming capital campaign but also long-term donor retention. Organizations that are 18 months or fewer from their capital campaign close date must focus on their donor engagement strategy, including integrating engagement systems and services into the campaign to help boost its success and ensure a sustainable transition when the campaign ends. While 18 months or even a year seems like a lot of time, it is often barely adequate to accomplish all that needs to be done.   

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Book a meeting with our team to find how you can implement a proactive donor recognition strategy at your organization.

Studies show that implementing a solid donor recognition strategy before the campaign closes increases donations by 10% or more.   

A Proactive vs. reactive approach

1. Personnel – Who will be working on the campaign and donor engagement? Whether it’s a committee, the Board, or one development officer, the decision-making process for donor engagement systems must be established early.

2. Timing – What is the timeline, and when will the campaign end? Is there an unveiling date for the donor engagement system? Are other events planned around donor engagement, and if so are those dates established?

3. Budget – Where is the money for the donor engagement system coming from, and how will the allocation of funds be determined? What are the options for obtaining additional funding?

4. Location – Where will the donor engagement system be located?  If this involves decision-making outside of the organization, an early discussion will help ensure the engagement system will be in a conspicuous, prominent, and appropriate location.

5. Naming recognition policies – Are there clear policies in place that address types and levels of recognition? Have all naming opportunities been identified and inventoried? What does area naming look like? Are there any significant naming opportunities outstanding? Or, are there any important donors looking for a naming recognition opportunity?

6. Design – How will the creation of the donor engagement system speak to the organization’s cause and engagement needs? What environmental elements need to be considered in the design? How will the design accommodate future needs?  

2. Timing – What is the timeline, and when will the campaign end? Is there an unveiling date for the donor engagement system? Are other events planned around donor engagement, and if so are those dates established?

7. Information gathering – Are donor lists up to date? Are permissions needed for displaying donor names publicly (i.e., for area naming, engagement systems, etc.), and if so, are those permissions in hand? Are the recognition-giving levels current, or do they need to be reviewed?

8. Awareness – How can the time left in the campaign be leveraged to utilize all opportunities for additional donations? For engagement system sponsorship? For closing the remaining significant donors?

9. Vendor selection process – How the vendor for the project is selected? Will, there be an RFP, and if so, is assistance needed in drafting it? Is there a timeline established for the vendor selection process?

While the donor engagement systems don’t have to be installed until the campaign closes, an organization’s donor engagement strategy can never begin too early. Such foresight and planning will result in maximum return on investment, not just today but in the future, as well.  

BrookGlobal specializes in partnering with clients to establish effective donor engagement strategies and guidance and expertise in all the above processes. Let’s talk about how to make them effortless and successful.

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