2 Steps to Create Loyal MAJOR Donors Who Give You More Each Year

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could attract lots of generous repeat gifts from your donors?

loyal major donor

The NC Symphony has 98% renewal rates of upper level annual fund donors!

As my mentor at Duke University used to say,

“The first gift is, hopefully, never the largest!

Don’t you just love that optimism?

What is the secret to securing those sought-after repeat gifts?

Especially from major donors who can give you $1k, $5k, $10k a year or more?

There are many strategies you can deploy to ramp up your annual fund totals.

But it really comes down to developing a deep and meaningful relationship with your donor.

Here are two terrific strategies you can use to create amazing strong, happy relationships with your donors.

Here’s how to create donors who love to keep giving, love to stay involved, and love to invest even more every year.

Create a “Deep Dive” Customized Plan for Each Major Donor

Lynne Wester, the Donor Guru, suggests that you really need to understand each individual major donor and “what makes them tick.”

She says “how well do you really know your donors?”

Otherwise, she says, how can you really surprise and delight them?

Lynne pulls everyone who has a relationship with the donor into one room to discuss the donor.

  • What does the donor want their legacy to be?
  • What are three adjectives that describe your donor?
  • Who at your organization do they admire?
  • Who is their favorite and least favorite person at the organization?
  • Why does the donor love our organization?

They take a Deep Dive into the donor’s hopes and dreams. They look at the donor in a new way so they can create customized donor experiences that will match each person’s passion and interests.

Lynne says,

“It’s crucial to understand what motivates someone’s generosity and passion.”

When you get to know your donor in a deeper more personal way, you really can make your cause deeply meaningful to your donors’ life. You enrich her life and bring her joy. Hurray!

Lynne is joining Tom Ahern to share her tips on creating “sticky” donor loyalty that keeps donors giving and giving. Don’t miss this chance to hear how you can double your annual fundraising.

Create Amazing Experiences for Your Donors

Once you take the Deep Dive into your donor’s motivations and interests, then it’s time to create amazing experiences for them.

Major donors hear directly from the musicians of the NC Symphony.

Major donors hear directly from the musicians of the NC Symphony.

Note this word: EXPERIENCES.

Yes, you can write to them; you can send them gifts and Valentines and pictures; you can phone call them.

But it is getting your donors face to face with your work that turns them on the most.

Give your donors amazing experiences:

Exclusive donor presentations:

The NC Symphony stages special conversations between donors and lead musicians. They let donors attend rehearsals with guest stars. They have a donor retention rate of 98% in their upper level annual fund categories!

Guest Expedition:

The NC Outward Bound School offers Guest Expeditions for donors to get true taste of the Outward Bound Experience. Imagine paddling against the tide all night in the Florida Everglades! I won’t forget that one!

Take a call on the Help Line:

A United Way Help Line lets donors sit in on a call or two and experience first hand the tragedies people face. This experience led to a $27.1 million gift!

Backstage tour:

I’m a ballet fan, and the Carolina Ballet invited my daughters and me to go BACKSTAGE during the Nutcracker intermission. I will never, ever, ever forget the breathtaking beauty of watching the Sugar Plum Fairy warm up.

Panel Discussion:

A Rape Crisis Center can stage a panel discussion of counselors so donors can understand the issues, the crises, and how people are helped.


No matter what type of organization you have, you can create amazing donor experiences. Yes!

AND don’t miss your chance to hear directly from Lynne Wester and Tom Ahern – two of the very top people in the world – on how to double YOUR fundraising via donor loyalty. Their webinars are March 14 and 17, and they will be recorded.  Join us!