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Connecting with your donors!

April 1, 2009
by Nelson W. Burns
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During a wonderful workshop at my MHCA conference, I took some copious notes from Blake Groves (Convio, online marketing best practices). Blake referred to relationship building through the internet as a way expanding one’s relationship with a donor. As many know, relationship building is the key building block for donations but… through the internet? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Taking his advice, however, I have attempted to re-evaluate how I connect with my donors. There was one donor that I am assigned to that I have been trying to keep informed about our organization. My e-mails in the past were merely informal ways of asking for money. With Blake’s advice at hand, Coleman Professional Services recently sponsored a lecture on Suicide Prevention for teenagers, free to the public. I decided to send my donor, who actually lives outside the state, the internet announcement about the lecture and how Coleman was attempting to support and educate the community on teenage suicides.

Low and behold, I received a nice and “internet warm” e-mail back from my donor about her thoughts and ideas on this initiative! Her comments were genuine and I knew I connected. My point here, thanks to Blake, is that we need to rethink our applications about internet marketing and our communications to our donors. We can build relationships through the internet; yes, they are different but they are relationships!



The conventional notion is that the Internet and e-mail are impersonal and cold ways to communicate. But with the growth in social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and so on), that's no longer the case. An e-mail may not replace a face-to-face meeting, but it certainly can help keep donors in the loop and engaged, especially if it's personalized.

Nelson W. Burns

Nelson W. Burns

Nelson W. Burns has been the president and CEO of ...

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