The Mikuska Group  

Do you know your donors?

If your development director left the organization suddenly, taking with him or her all the institutional memory about your donors, would there be a smooth transition to the next development staff person?  Or do you pale at the thought of losing the only person who has that knowledge?

The good news is, you can mitigate the loss of data by implementing a donor management system. That’s fancy talk for a database, which you use to manage all aspects of the relationship between you and your donors. It has to be more than a collection of Excel spreadsheets (or even index cards!), because your relationship is more complex than a list of annual donations. You must be able to record family and other relationships, employment, contacts, interests, donations, pledges and more. The more you know, the better you will be able to engage your donors.

Let’s say John Donor has been a regular supporter for a number of years and you ‘d like to approach him to consider a larger gift to a special campaign. In a donor management system, you would be able to verify that in fact, he would be interested in this special campaign because he has supported a similar initiative in the past. If you had recorded donations on a spreadsheet, this would be a tedious and time consuming task to verify this. In addition, you may have also recorded his place of employment, which you have discovered has a matching gift program for its employees, especially for initiative such as yours. You might also find out that he has family members who are also interested in this special campaign – why not approach them for a family gift? You get the gist.

Relationship management is the science behind the art of asking and donor engagement. It’s an investment that will enhance your development program many times over.

Laura Mikuska


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