Soliciting Donor-Advised Funds
Nonprofits everywhere are looking to expand their donor pool. But with the use of donor-advised funds on the rise, the question remains ” how do I solicit donor-advised funds?” Unfortunately, soliciting a donor-advised fund is different from normal fundraising strategies. With this intention, I hope to share some insights into how nonprofits can solicit donations from donor-advised funds.
Degree of Contact
Recently, frustration with donor-advised funds has been on the rise among the nonprofit community. One reason is the inability to solicit to the donor directly. All solicitations that come to Legacy, whether through mail or email, start and potentially stop with me. Mailed solicitations are not passed on to the donor. In reality, the amount of time that it would take me to scan and email the solicitation to each donor who has donated to that organization is impractical. While it could be argued that this practice further inhibits the nonprofits ability to establish an emotional connection with the donor. However, it has been my experience that when donors recommend a grant, they already have an emotional connection to the nonprofit and its cause. They are already engaged with your organization whether in-person or through media.
Engage the Sponsor, Engage the Donor
Two methods of engaging the donor through the sponsor are:
Invite the donor-advised fund sponsor to take a tour
One thing that will always be forwarded on to the donor, is grant acknowledgment. I love being able to show them that the organization that they donated to took the time to say thank you. Doing something as simple as taking the time to say thank you, can lead to more donations of higher value. Donors want to know that the organization will use donations wisely. A thank you letter can reassure the donor and strengthen their emotional connection to the organization.
Take a Tour
If the donor-advised fund sponsor is local, invite them out to tour your nonprofit! If they aren’t local, invite them to stop by if a staff member is ever in the area. A few years ago, a local nonprofit invited Legacy out to tour their facility after receiving a grant from a donor-advised fund. As a result of the tour and the feedback from the Legacy staff member, the donor recommended a second larger grant.
It’s important to realize, building an emotional connection with the donor is a process. Take advantage of all the resources available at your fingertips! Evaluate what your organization is doing to build that connection with your community. Figure out what is working and what is not. Use the free resources found across the internet! Experiment with different ways to engage and find what works for you. Earn your communities trust. While it can be an arduous process, it is worth the effort.