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Elevating Donor Relations: Q&A with Lynne Wester

Donor relations is the key to unlocking fundraising success. In this week’s Masterclass Webinar, “Donor Experience: The Key to Fundraising Success,” renowned nonprofit consultant Lynne Wester, of Donor Relations Guru, dives into the factors needed to achieve meaningful, long-term relationships with your donors.

Sometimes referred to as the Olivia Pope of fundraising, Lynne helps organizations when they need it the most. In our upcoming webinar, Lynne will discuss the donor experience from the eyes of a donor, things you can do to correct bad fundraising behavior, and ways to incorporate gratitude into your donor experience.

Check out our Q&A with Lynne below, and then sign up for this week’s webinar. You won’t want to miss any of her wisdom. After all, we could all use a fundraising guru of our own!

Fundraising Spotlight Interview

You’ve dedicated your career to helping nonprofits become successful fundraisers. What drew you to this line of work?

I learned many of my lessons on gratitude from my mother and father, but I believe so greatly in the power of gratitude and giving that, for me, it was a natural but unexpected fit!

Why do you believe donor relations, and the donor experience, is the key to successful fundraising?

Fundraising has a major problem facing its sustainability and it has nothing to do with the charitable tax deduction; the transfer of wealth, or the new generation of donors, the Millennials. It has everything to do with donor retention. Average donor retention rates for first-time donors hover at a dismal rate of less than 30 percent. Yet fundraisers don’t spend a great deal of time and energy on the problem and its solution. Instead, acquisition budgets rise with great abandon as they hunt for new donors to replace awful attrition rates. The answer is simple. Acquisition costs seven times as much as retention. It’s more cost effective to keep the donors an organization has than chase new ones. Donor relations provides the answer to the donor retention problem. A well-executed, strategic forward-thinking program will cure the ailment of hemorrhaging donors and accomplish even more.

You’ve developed four pillars of donor relations. Can you tell us a little about them?

The four pillars of donor relations serve as a guidepost for effective donor relations activities. The first two pillars of acknowledgment and stewardship are not optional, but instead foundational. Building a donor relations program that is effective, powerful and strategic relies on a group of professionals dedicated to a single mission of donor retention and sustained if not increased giving. These pillars are the baseline but are certainly not the only activities that an office can perform to enhance relationships with donors.

To learn more about Lynne’s four pillars of donor relations, join us for our Masterclass Webinar, “Donor Experience: The Key to Fundraising Success.”

In your experience, what do donors want most from an organization?

Access, information, and experience. They want a fulfilling experience in exchange for their generosity.

What advice would you give to someone who’s shy about talking to donors?

Donors are people, too. And they are people with generous souls! They have amazing hearts and wonderful stories. Ask them to tell you theirs!!

And one for fun…You’ve been called the Olivia Pope of fundraising. With “Scandal” coming to an end, which Gladiator do you think would be a good fundraiser?

I would have to say Huck for many reasons, but I believe there is a gladiator inside all of us. We can do things large and small to make a difference when we see injustices or wrongs. It’s up to each and every one of us.

Register for Network for Good’sDonor Experience: The Key to Fundraising Success” webinar today.

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