9 interesting ways to maintain relationships with your donors

Dr Saumya Arora About Dr Saumya Arora

Dr. Saumya Arora is a development professional with cross-disciplinary experience in project management, resource mobilization, donor relationship management, community mobilization and project execution at the field level. She is currently working towards building fundraising and resource mobilization capacity of community-based organizations, apart from developing functional linkages with donors across the world.

Every donor, be it an individual, a donor agency, a foundation, or a CSR (corporate social responsibility) arm, looks for feedback from the non-profit or charity. Feedback in terms of knowing how important they are for you, how appreciated they are, and what it gives them to stay connected. A sense of appreciation, feeling of contributing towards a social cause, and regular and meaningful communication would result in maintenance of lasting relationships with your donors.

9 interesting ways to maintain relationships with your donors

Here are 10 interesting ways to help you maintain mutually beneficial relationships with your donors:

  1. Show appreciation

Whenever a donor contributes for your cause, make sure that you respond with appreciation. That said, appreciation can mean personalized emails, a thanks note on your website and/ or social media pages, or a personalized letter. You may tweet a thanks note with the donor’s name, or post a thanks note on your facebook page, tagging the donor. This appreciation would mean a lot to the donor, while it also has the potential to get more donors, for his/ her friends will see the good deed and would be motivated to do so too.

  1. Respond to their queries promptly and value follow-up

Donors are not mere suppliers of funds; instead they are a valuable asset to your organization. It is important to value your donors as partners, and to make them feel valued. So, make sure you respond to their queries promptly and follow-up with them on regular basis. This will also help in converting one-time or regular donors into recurrent ones. You may set up a hangout or chat session for this, or create a simple system for feedback through your website or social media accounts. The key is in ‘being prompt’.

  1. Report results- tell them how their donations make a difference

Tell your donors what impact you have been leaving on the communities you work for. Be careful that it sounds donor-centric rather than, ‘We do this, we do that, we are amazing, follow us, donate donate donate..’ A donor-centric approach will really help, ‘We have been attempting to reduce the inequalities and injustice towards underprivileged communities and your support brings us closer and closer to the goal. Thanks a lot for your selfless support. Here is how your contribution has been changing lives:……..(stories and impact figures to follow)…’.

  1. Create days of appreciation- be it Valentine’s day or Children’s day

Find opportunities to thank your donors in creative ways. With the social media and internet everywhere, it is not very difficult to look for such ways or plan and execute simple campaigns. For example, on Valentine’s Day, you may create a simple online event with good graphics, thanking each donor, posting messages or personalized emails, with messages like ‘No love is above the love for humanity. Thanks for being a great Valentine for this cause.’ Or ‘Let us spread love for these innocent children, support them with —— this Valentine..’ These are some of the examples, but you can be as creative as you wish to be.

  1. Share success stories and pictures

Share stories of success and inspiration on your website, social media pages, annual reports, newsletters, and in thank you letters, everywhere. Include pictures from the field, pictures of people whose lives have been touched by your work (of course with their consent). ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ indeed holds true, and makes an emotional connect with your donors.

  1. Keep them posted with activity or event alerts

Let your donors know about what is happening in your organization and on field. Keep them posted about your events, send personalized invites to them for these. Does not matter whether they will come or not, what matters is that you keep you donors in mind for any important event. This makes them feel valued and stay connected to you.

  1. Invite them to write for you

Happy donors invite more donors towards your cause. Make them happier by connecting them to you cause in an integral manner. Invite them to write about their experiences of being associated with you. They may write pages, testimonials or blogs for you. If a corporate donor write a positive testimonial, be assured that this is definitely going to attract more donors and hence more support.

  1. Timelines, the ‘before and afters’

Share the project timelines, and the before and after stories. It will be best if clubbed with pictures. Share these on your websites, social media pages, in e-mailers, personalized letters, or anywhere you wish to. Frame a story, with this flow: situation earlier, what has been done to change it and why; and finally the ‘after’ situation. Sharing pictures along with these create a lasting impact. For example, pictures before toilets in schools, and after toilet construction, including how the hygienic conditions have improved, children play in safe and hygienic environment.

  1. Personalized thank you letters from the community

Imagine an 8-year old kid sending a thank you note to you for helping him continue education as follow his dreams! Wouldn’t it be the most gratifying feeling ever? Understand the value of feeling in donor-receiver relationship. Allow the donor hear directly from the recipient how he/ she has gained from the support. For example, if you are an organization working for education or children, you may get hand-written note or letter from the child and send it to his donor with a picture. Be assured that this donor feels so much valued and happy to contribute towards transforming lives, that he will be a recurrent donor. This is also because he knows his money is being used for the intended purpose.


  1. thank you so much for the great tips.
    I presently work with Care Organization for Rural Assistance.
    Though we have not had donors for our projects, we hope to use the great tips on this page to keep and get more donors for our organization.

    more grease to your elbows

  2. We are a civil society organization working in Iraq, we have worked on many of the programs and projects we have implemented with several international donor organizations .. we want to open the door for dialogue and cooperation in order to promote more community.

    Almortqa for development (MD)

    • Reena Pandey says:

      Hi Muqdad,

      We are not the organization you are looking for but a social enterprise that provides fundraising guides and inform you on the latest funding opportunities to help your organization apply for the relevant opportunities and secure grants.

      Thank You!

      • Hrishikesh says:

        Hello mam.
        Or foundation is working rural and tribal women, children & men towards health & Economic development in india.so please kindly help us for fund raising.

        Thank you….

  3. Caroline Akiteng says:

    Thank you very much for the knowledge and tips on maintaining donor- Relationship am glad have learnt good tips on maintaining donor-relationship.
    Thank you good luck

  4. Lukwago Richard Tamale says:

    Hi am working with rural livellihood promotion project which creates saving groups and sensitizes community members invest their saving in Income generating activities. am Currently working as a monitoring and Evaluation Officer . i would be greatful if am given an opportunity to attend this conference. Best Regards

    • Deepika Singh says:

      Hi Lukwago Richard,

      We would like to know from you that, about which conference are you exactly asking for? 9 interesting ways to maintain relationships with your donors is only a post (not a conference) on our website that will help organisations to find ways on maintaining relations with their donors.
      You can find information regarding a lot of conferences that are open for applications at https://fundsforngos1.wpengine.com/category/conferences/

      Thank You!

  5. JOSEPH HALAKE says:

    Dr Arora

    we are in the same non profit sector. I appreciate very much your very valuable tips on soft issues that we tend to assume.
    you current tips on relationships with donor will help us to improve and maintain relations with our current and potential donors. well done and much appreciated.

  6. william owino says:

    We are planning for eco run for conservation of lake kanyaboli at yala swamp this i th second edition in partnership with partnerships with county government of siaya, sopa and ak. How can we be supported to have proper environmental awareness and youth talent tapping on athletics