3 Actions to Help You Avoid Losing Trust with Donors

How to Avoid Losing Trust with Donors


What’s Up? Avoid losing trust with your donors by making them feel respected, informed and appreciated.

The basis of any relationship, regardless of the type, is a solid foundation of trust. When it comes to philanthropy, donors want to be sure the money they so generously give is being used for the utmost good. In the 2019 Give.org Donor Trust Report, seven out of ten donors said trusting a nonprofit is “essential” before giving.

Earning and keeping trust used to be solely the realm of the development and fundraising teams. But increasingly it’s up to marketers, and everyone in an organization, to give donors confidence that their gift will be used well in a community. 

To help you cultivate a passionate and loyal donor base, let’s review some ways to demonstrate your trustworthiness. 

1. Respect your donor’s time

We’re all busy. Your donors included. When they give you their attention, make the most out of it by keeping messages concise and avoiding fluff. 

You can get there by understanding what donors are interested in hearing about and identifying a goal for each communication.

Emails are a great trust checkpoint. On average, 15 to 25 percent of your email list will open your email. How will you make that click count? Start by keeping it short. Emails that are 50 to 100 words perform best.

Next, be consistent. Whether it’s every Monday, every other week, the 15th of each month, or something else, pick a schedule and stick with it. Sending emails about four times a month has been proven to increase open rates, so use that as a starting place. 

2. Show them the impact of their donation

Another great way to build trust among your donor base is to show where their money is going on a regular basis. Many studies show that helping other people can reduce stress levels and give individuals a sense of purpose and pride. 

Show your donors how their donation is making an impact. One idea is to have someone your organization helped, write a personal thank you that you can send to your donors. The more specific the example, the more impactful it will likely feel!

3. Give a token of appreciation

Many charities use thank you gifts to show their appreciation to donors. According to the Global Trends in Giving Report, this can be an effective strategy. The report found that one in five people are more likely to give if they are offered a free gift.

It’s important to adjust the gift to represent the efforts your nonprofit is working toward. For example, if your organization is committed to wildlife conservation and you offer donors the opportunity to adopt a tiger, an appropriate thank you could be an encouraging certificate or a stuffed animal. 

You can also provide a more practical gift such as a planner for the busy donors, a branded water bottle, or for larger donors perhaps an award with their name. Gifts of recognition not only make your donors feel respected and appreciated but also shine a positive light on your organization.

In today’s cancel culture it’s hard to earn trust and easy to lose it. But by making sure donors feel respected, informed and appreciated you can lay the foundation for a strong, lasting relationship that will result in more frequent or more generous donations. 

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