Individualized Donor Plans

This weeks article will focus on the value of individualized donor plans. In a past blog article, we discussed the benefits advice visits can have on your non-profit and fundraising. Advice visits are a great way to involve and engage volunteers in a way they want to help you succeed. The question is, what is the next step after the advice visit? It is time to create individualized donor plans.

In full disclosure, this idea is not unique to Virtual Fundraising Consultants LLC. The idea to blog on this subject came from a recent AFP board meeting where we share best practices where we discussed the value of advice visits. In our most recent meeting, our president-elect Laura Leach C.F.R.E followed up by discussing the next steps after the advice visit, individualized donor plans.

Today we will discuss some key elements of donor plans, and share 3 ways it can benefit your organization.

What are individualized donor plans? In simplest terms, individualized donor plans are written document which show a snapshot of your relationship with your donor. Donor plans are a road map that shows where you are in your relationship now, where you want to go, and what path you plan to take to get there. It is an executive summary of your interactions. It is the first step in creating an intentional plan to cultivate and develop your donor (sometimes referred to as Moves Management). For more information on creating a Moves Management system for your non-profit click HERE.

Here are 3 benefits of having individualized donor plans:

  1. Accountability: I have learned that one way to hold your self accountable is to write down exactly what you plan to do and when you plan to do it. Donor plans serve as a constant reminder of what plan to accomplish. Individualized donor plans also help ensure that you are going to do what you said you were going to do when you said you were going to do it. It doesn't matter how good your plan is if you don't have it written down you probably won't do it.
  2. Institutional Knowledge: A benefit of having donor plans is that you now a snapshot of your relationship with your donor. This can be shared with anyone at any time. Donor plans remind you of conversations and interactions you have had as well as documents your relationships. This is extremely helpful during times of transition. (If you have ever stared a job with no notes on the previous donors and their relationship to your cause you know exactly what I mean).
  3. Focus: Donor plans help you to concentrate your time and energy on doing the things that will have the greatest impact. Fundraising is much more successful when it is a team effort rather than individuals working independently. Individualized donor plans also help create "buy-in" and "teamwork" from your staff by combining your efforts for a single focus.

The true benefit of donor plans is not in the written plan itself. It is in the process you have created to make a change. Do you have individualized donor plans?

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