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Allyson Kapin 8 min read

Make Your Donors Feel Like Rock Stars

Have you ever made a series of small donations to your own organization or made a “significant” donation to another organization whose mission you are passionate about? What was the experience like?

A)    “Awesome, I felt totally appreciated. A staff member followed up right away to thank me and kept in touch to inform me how my money was spent. I feel like they know who I am.”

B)   “Mediocre. I got an automated thank you message and I can’t remember if they ever told me how my money was being spent or how the campaign went. They did send me more fundraising appeals though.”

C)   “Terrible. They never even thanked me and just kept asking me for money.  I feel like they think I’m an ATM machine.”


If you're like most donors, your experiences probably fall somewhere between answers B and C. Nonprofits spend a lot of time and money acquiring new donors, but they’re falling short on the most important part of turning donors into lifetime supporters – treating them like rock stars. If nonprofits invested as much resources into building meaningful and long-term relationships with their donors, organizations would raise a lot more money and have a lot lower churn rates.


Five Tips To Make Your Donors Feel Like Rock Stars

1. Thank Your Donors

You maybe thinking “duh” who doesn’t thank their donors? Frankly a lot of organizations don’t personally thank their donors fast enough or at all. If a donor is moved by your mission enough to write a big check for $10K or make a $50 online donation, follow up with them ASAP and thank them from the bottom of your heart.

2. Shower Them With Love

Donors, just like everyone else in this world, want to be loved. Create an environment where your organization can really get to know your donors and shower them with love. Become their biggest fans.

3. Ask For Their Opinions

Donors (just like rock stars) want to feel like they have your respect, that they can openly share their opinions and be listened too. When is the last time your organization asked donors to help set program priorities for the next six months? MoveOn does an excellent job in getting their donors involved in their decision-making processes. Your organization can too, but you will need to expand your comfort zone in the beginning when you create this type of culture change.

4. Don’t Take Them For Granted

When your organization is planning the fundraising appeals calendar, spread them far enough apart so that your donors don’t feel like they are constantly being asked for money. Your donors are not ATM machines, so please don’t treat them like one. Remember, rock stars have some ego, they want to feel special.

5. It’s Not All About You

Chances are a lot of your communications with donors is what your organization wants them to know. But building strong relationships is never all about you. It’s about the other person too. Spend some time brainstorming what your donors would like to talk with your organization about. Respond to their needs and ideas. And respond quickly.



Does your organization go out of its way to make donors feel like rock stars? How so?


More Resources:

The Tipping Point: Raising Money and Generating Action - Frogloop

Want To Improve Your Fundraising Results? Fire On All Cylinders! - Frogloop

New Guiding Principles for Fundraising - Frogloop


Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.