Donor engagement is the key to a nonprofit's financial sustainability.
A donor who is deeply engaged in the work of your organization will give more money and will naturally speak well of your group in the community. They will bring their unique resources to the table if you are open with them about your needs and challenges and truly welcome their input and advice. (Note: this does not mean you must follow all of their advice, but you must be open to asking for it and considering their input.) The more a donor feels they can contribute to your organization, the more engaged they are.
Think of a nonprofit organization you wholeheartedly support as a donor. You talk about the organization with your friends. You are passionate about their work. You have been a supporter over many years.
If that organization were to come to you and ask you for input on their new programming, their thoughts about expanding into a new part of the community, or developing a new approach to an old problem, wouldn't you have a response, an opinion, a bit of advice to offer? At a minimum, most of us would be flattered to be asked. And many of us would have opinions or even wisdom and other resources we could share. In short, we could add a great deal to the dialog or the inquiry or the development of the new program.
I see this happening so often with the groups we have been working with for five to ten years now: Donors really rolling up their sleeves and getting involved—but often only when they are asked for advice or input.