I placed a check in the box with enthusiasm when thoughtfully filling out an online survey I received via email from a local nonprofit. “Yes”, I am interested in becoming a volunteer. I have donated several times in the past, my children have attended their workshops, my artwork has hung in their galleries and I even tried piano and voice lessons from their instructors. The only thing I had not yet done was to actually volunteer. Weeks and then months passed without a response to my excited checkmark. Oh, but there is a Spring Annual Appeal letter from this same nonprofit that is opened but lays hesitantly on my desk.
While making a professional visit to a different nonprofit this week I was asked, “Who are my best planned giving prospects?” I was immediately reminded of the insult I felt from my online survey experience because up to that point I would have been a great planned giving prospect for them. “Look to the level of engagement of your constituents, you will find them there”, I replied, giving examples that might paint an engagement picture of just such a prospect.
It is not just about the wealth or money. The true indicator of donor loyalty is a commitment to your mission that may be expressed in a variety of different ways. The one thing expected from the giver (of money, time or outreach) is communication from the nonprofit. Tell me how I make a difference with my donations, my time and my participation. That will keep me coming back and giving back.
I am still not sure if I will respond to the Spring Annual Appeal but I might just propose that I volunteer to help them better coordinate their volunteerism!
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