Nonprofits invest a lot of time and money into building relationships with their mid-level donors, but sometimes the most effective way to strengthen those ties is also the most simple: the one-on-one visit. While personal visits may seem like a time-consuming endeavor, they offer a rare opportunity for fundraisers to get honest feedback, show appreciation, and build trust—all of which are essential for sustained giving.
The Power of the Personal Touch
In our age of constant digital bombardment, it’s easy to forget the power of face-to-face interactions. But research shows that personal interactions are still the most effective way to build relationships. One study found that meeting someone in person increased the likelihood that they would give to a charity by 31%.
One-on-one visits also offer an opportunity for donors to share their candid thoughts and feelings about your organization. This feedback is invaluable and can help you course correct where necessary. For example, if a donor expresses concerns about how their donation is being used, you can address those issues directly and provide specific examples of the impact their gift is having. These conversations also give you an opportunity to show your appreciation for the donor’s support. Feeling appreciated is one of the main reasons people maintain their loyalty to a company or organization.
As a nonprofit, every dollar counts. That’s why when it comes to donor visits, we prioritize our high-level donors who give the largest contributions. But by neglecting mid-level donors, we may be missing out on a significant source of funding. While a visit to a mid-level donor may require more time and resources on our part, studies have shown that these donors are often more willing to increase their giving and become major contributors if they feel personally connected to our organization. So while it may seem expensive in the short term, investing in visiting our mid-level donors can pay off in the long run for both them and us. Plus, showing them that we value their support can help foster loyalty and strengthen our nonprofit community as a whole. So rather than skimping on visits to mid-level donors, let’s make the effort to foster these important relationships. On-site visits can be an important part of your mid-level donor strategy.
Finally, one-on-ones offer an excellent chance to build trust between you and the donor. In our work with nonprofits, we often find that there’s a disconnect between what donors say they care about and where they actually direct their dollars. This gap is often due to a lack of trust— donors simply don’t believe that their donation will be used in the way they want it to be. During a one-on-one meeting, you have an opportunity to bridge that gap by sharing stories and concrete examples that illustrate how previous gifts have made a difference. When done effectively, these meetings can lay the groundwork for more significant gifts down the road.
Tips For Making One-on-One Visits Successful
If your organization decides one-on-one visits to mid-level donors is important, let’s take a look at some tips for making them successful:
1. Go where the donors are
Visiting donors is expensive. If you are going to visit midlevel donors, try to visit an area where you have multiple donors. This will help spread the investment out over many people.
2. Keep it personal
Remember, the whole point of a one-on-one visit is to deepening your relationship with the donor. So be sure to keep the conversation personal and avoid talking about your nonprofit’s finances or recent successes/failures. Instead, focus on getting to know the donor on a personal level and finding out what issues or causes they care about most.
3. Show appreciation
As we mentioned before, showing appreciation for a donor’s past support is a great way to encourage them to continue supporting your nonprofit in the future. During your one-on-one meeting, be sure thank the donor for their past gifts and let them know how much their support means to you and your nonprofit. A little appreciation goes a long way!
4. Follow up after the meeting
Finally, be sure follow up after the meeting with thank you note or email summarizing what was discussed during the meeting. This will help solidify what was discussed and help ensure that both you and the donor are on the same page going forward. Plus, it’ll show that you’re grateful for their time!
Overall, it’s important to carefully weigh the expenses and benefits before scheduling a visit with a mid-level donor. It could end up being a valuable investment, but it’s not always necessary.