- Treat major donors as “insiders.” The same old newsletter material won’t cut it with bigger investors. They want inside information and to feel truly engaged with the leadership of your organization.
- Let them see the numbers. Don’t be afraid to outline the costs to implement a program. You can even include salaries, giving major donors credit for knowing that it takes good tools and talented staff to make things happen.
- Choose your battles #1 – CEOs don’t like letters that look and sound like fundraising mail. So give in—you don’t have to use ellipses, bold letters, bullets, underlining, short paragraphs, or any of those little tricks we know work in fundraising.
- Choose your battles #2 – CEOs often also don’t like to get “personal” in communicating with donors. But on this one, you have to push back! Donors want to give to people they know and trust, and the CEO can help build that trust by opening up and sharing more about his or her life.
- DON’T FORGET TO ASK! Although you definitely want your communications with major donors to feel warm and personal, don’t get so focused on being nice that you forget to include a direct ask for money. Remember, major donors are already committed to your organization, and they want to know what you need from them. So always remember to ask!
Do you have any tips that have worked especially well for you in communicating to major donors? We’d love to hear them.