50 Ways to Engage Your Major Donors - Free Nonprofit Help!

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50 Ways to Engage Your Major Donors

Major donors are the lifeblood of a nonprofit organization.  And because they probably make only a gift or two every year, you have ample opportunity to engage with them (without asking!) and build a deeper relationship.  Here are 50 ways to meaningfully engage with your major donors all year long.  And if you want to learn the best stories to tell your major donors (and donors all of sorts) come to the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference!

1. Personalize your communication: Make sure every interaction is tailored to their specific interests and previous involvement.

2. Invite them to your office: Personal visits help them see your operation and meet the team.

3. Host special events: Organize exclusive gatherings for major donors to mingle and learn about your mission.

4. Handwritten thank you notes: Personalize your gratitude with a handwritten note.

5. Provide regular updates: Keep them informed about your organization's progress.

6. Acknowledge them publicly: With their permission, recognize their contributions in your publications or at events.

7. Offer board or advisory positions: If appropriate, invite them to serve on your board or advisory committee.

8. Introduce them to beneficiaries: If possible, let them see the impact of their donations firsthand.

9. Include them in strategic planning: Major donors can offer valuable insights, particularly if they're in your sector.

10. Connect them with your leadership: Arrange meetings with your Executive Director, CEO, or board chair.

11. Offer volunteer opportunities: This gives them a hands-on experience related to your cause.

12. Give them a 'behind the scenes' tour: Showcase your work in action.

13. Host a major donor appreciation event: Celebrate their contributions with an exclusive gathering.

14. Send holiday cards: A simple, friendly touch point to stay connected.

15. Ask for their advice: Make them feel valued by seeking their opinion.

16. Engage them on social media: Share, comment, and engage with their posts.

17. Send birthday gifts or cards: Show that you appreciate them beyond their donations.

18. Provide unique opportunities: If possible, give them first access to tickets or discounts to your events.

19. Create a major donor newsletter: Tailor communications specifically for your big donors.

20. Share testimonials: Let them hear stories about the impact of their support.

21. Create a 'wall of fame': With their permission, recognize their support publicly in your office or on your website.

22. Involve them in new campaigns: Share early news about upcoming projects and seek their advice.

23. Promote networking: Connect them with other donors, partners, or beneficiaries.

24. Offer branded merchandise: Give them something to remember your cause.

25. Present opportunities to increase impact: Share matching gift opportunities or planned giving options.

26. Develop a donor journey: Create a personalized engagement plan for each major donor.

27. Create a donor advisory group: Encourage their participation in a group that helps inform your work.

28. Invite them to speak at events: Give them an opportunity to share why they support your cause.

29. Ask for their stories: Request to share their stories in your communications to inspire others.

30. Annual face-to-face meeting: Set up a yearly meeting to discuss their contributions and your progress.

31. Engage their families: If appropriate, involve their family in events and communications.

32. Keep them up to date with industry news: Share relevant news and reports.

33. Create a major donor club: Provide a sense of exclusivity and community with a donor club.

34. Personal video messages: Send thank you videos or impact updates from your team or beneficiaries.

35. Launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign: Major donors can be great fundraisers themselves.

36. Set up a Google Alert for their names: This allows you to stay up to date with their accomplishments and send congratulations.

37. Create a legacy giving program: Encourage major donors to leave a gift in their will.

38. Highlight major donors in annual reports: With permission, make special note of their contributions in official reports.

39. Conduct a major donor survey: Ask for their feedback on your work and engagement efforts.

40. Give them first look at important news: Share important updates with them before general announcements.

41. Invite them to a thank you call with your CEO or Board Chair: A personal call can make a major donor feel appreciated.

42. Give them naming opportunities: Offer them the chance to name a project, scholarship, or building.

43. Invite them to webinars or educational sessions: This can be a value-added experience for major donors.

44. Set them up with a personal liaison in your organization: Provide direct access to a staff member for any questions or concerns.

45. Offer opportunities to meet key stakeholders: Arrange meetings with beneficiaries, community leaders, or sector influencers.

46. Ask them to mentor new donors or volunteers: Major donors often have vast experience and networks to share.

47. Create a monthly major donor e-newsletter: Keep them updated and engaged with tailored communications.

48. Showcase their other passions: If they're involved with other causes or have hobbies, show interest and make connections to your work.

49. Offer exclusive previews of new projects or initiatives: Let them be the first to know about your new ventures.

50. Encourage them to visit project sites: If possible, seeing your work in action can strengthen their commitment to your cause. 

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