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10 Tips to Building Stronger Animal Guardian Donor Relationships

(and Broaden Your Donor Base as a Result)

As most fundraising consultants will tell you, fundraising is all about “friendraising”, the practice of building strong relationships with your donors. This is because people give to people (and animals).

1. Say Thank You for every donation, regardless of size. You don’t really have to respond to every donation, just the ones you want more of. If you don’t like receiving $5 donations, even if they come in month after month like clockwork, then don’t say thank you for the first one. Some question whether it is worthwhile spending 50 cents on a thank you note for a small $5 donation, but I suggest you look at it as a way to get a 1,000% return on your investment! Every donation is worth a thank you. If nothing else, remember that almost all major donors start out by giving a much smaller amount. Lady with Dog
It’s a snap to print thank you letters with all three versions of FundRaiser. They practically print themselves. You can also record “in-kind” gifts such as milk replacement formula, pet food, litter and cleaning supplies.

2. Communicate with your donors. Tug on their heartstrings by telling heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories. Shelters and Rescue organizations are in an enviable position of having lots of stories to tell – use them! Newsprint newsletters with lots of pictures can be expensive and troublesome to print and mail, but are extremely effective communication tools. These days, e-newsletters can be just as effective, and much less costly to produce and send. There are newsletter services that make the process of creating newsletters surprisingly easy. Of course, in your newsletter, you should always have a convenient way to donate, either with a reply envelope or Donate Now buttons.
Maintaining your newsletter list in FundRaiser is simple and convenient. And, with FundRaiser Select and Professional, you can automatically process donations made online.

3. Be a part of your donors grieving process by accepting and, both privately and publicly, acknowledging their memorial gifts. A memorial list of beloved animals and their guardians is an important mainstay of all newsletters. Another idea is a memorial area that is public and visible, but out of the way… where photos or favorite toys are pinned onto cork boards or hung as mobiles. Be sure to include a bench where donors can sit and remember. cat on sofa
FundRaiser Select and Professional have a Tributes module that automates all this for you, quickly and effortlessly. Utilize ready-made templates in the built-in word processor, or create your own custom acknowledgements

4. Celebrate Adoption Days and Birthdays. Send a simple birthday card a month before the anniversaries of pet’s birth or adoption days, inviting the animal guardian (your donor) to celebrate their pet with a mention or a photo in your newsletter or on your website, and any other fun and interesting ways you can dream up.
With FundRaiser Professional, you can keep track of just about anything, even pet birthdays. Of course, you can then print letters and mailing labels for the pet and their guardian.

5. Highlight a Donor and Their Pet Every Month. People love to read about themselves and other pet lovers. It also shows widespread support for what you do, giving a subconscious recommendation from a friend. You’ll also be surprised at how learning more about particular donors heightens your awareness of your donors overall. You develop a better understanding of what they enjoy and appreciate about what you do, and you inevitably build better relationships as a result. lady with puppy
Of course, you’ll need a way to choose your most loyal and your biggest donors. All three FundRaiser programs can do that. Then you’ll want to record details about each of those donors so that future appeals will know just what to say. All our software has extensive donor note-keeping areas; our higher end programs also give you extensive coding capabilities.

6. Give Your Donors and Pet Adopters an Opportunity to Volunteer. The more involved your donors become with your organization, the more they will also donate.
FundRaiser Select and Professional have a Volunteer Management module that will help you schedule, track, and report on your volunteer hours and activities.

7. Highlight a Staff Member or Volunteer and Their Pet Every Month. This puts a human face on your organization. Remember that people give to people they know. boy with cat
Many staff members and volunteers provide foster care for orphaned animal babies, animals that need socialization, or special needs animals. These staff members and volunteers may even take in an animal temporarily if the shelter runs out of room. The volunteer module lets you quickly and easily identify those who are willing to offer foster care, as well as tracking their volunteer hours.

8. Have Fun With Your Donors! Hold a festival with contests and awards and chances to show off. Hold contests every month – photo contests (cutest kitten, most daring cat, most amazing dog feat, etc) with winners given much attention in your newsletter and on your website.
And, use FundRaiser to keep track of who attends these events, who donates, and which events are the most successful money-wise.

9. Share the Holidays With Your Donors. A popular, and very effective, event is decorating a large public Christmas tree with ribbons that are imprinted with pet names and a light.
Campaign Management can help you plan and track events scheduled throughout the year that will help bring attention to the work your organization is doing. You can monitor expenses, pledges, gifts, participants and sponsors. After the event, you can easily generate reports to track the progress of each event and your campaigns as a whole. Consider offering pictures of adopted pets with Santa, hold a Sweetheart of a Pet essay contest, organize a dog walk or a pet look-a-like contest, with the winners featured in a yearly calendar, or even host a dinner and dance and call it the “Fur Ball.” The possibilities are endless!

10. Personalize All Your Correspondence. Not only should you address the donor by name in all letters, you should also refer to the donor’s pets by name. girl with dog
In FundRaiser Select and Professional, you can set up a user-definable spare field in which you can record pet names. You can then merge those names into letters and invitations.

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