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Practical ways to deepen donor relationships

Posted September 21, 2022 by Virginia Davidson

How to deepen donor relationships

One of the most effective ways to raise more money for your nonprofit organization is to deepen relationships with existing donors. It’s not easy to know how to do that, though. If you’re looking for practical ways to deepen those relationships, we have some expert advice for you.

When Little Green Light hosted its Meet the Author webinar with author Erik Hanberg, attendees submitted so many great questions for the Q & A portion that we couldn’t answer them all in our allotted time. Thankfully, Erik was happy to respond to additional questions on our blog, and we’re excited to continue sharing his practical nonprofit expertise with you in our Ask the Expert series.

In this post Erik answers Gina, who asked:

How do you deepen relationships with your most significant donors?

Hi Gina,

That’s a great question. There are a lot of different ways of going about it, but I’ll put the question back to you—how do you go about making a new friend?

Because that’s probably a good indicator of how you’d be most comfortable deepening relationships with significant donors. These are real relationships you are forming and building. They shouldn’t at their base be transactional—though, of course, at some point you will ask for a gift.

So share appropriately of yourself, your background, your family, and why you love the work that you do. But also ask a lot of questions. Learn about your donors and their lives. Find out what’s important to them. Keep the conversation going and the relationship deepening.

If you want some tactical ideas on how to deepen relationships with donors, you can always invite these donors on a behind-the-scenes tour or to things you are already doing. That makes it easier because then you aren’t creating new work for yourself. If there is a speaker who comes to town that is related to your nonprofit’s services, maybe you could invite some top donors to go with you as your guest.

Or, if that doesn’t work, suggest meeting up later so you can share what you learned. Ask donors for their insight, and ask what else is happening in the community or world that excites them and that they support. And take notes! Keep logs of your contacts and biographic information in LGL so you can refresh your memory before a visit. That attention to detail will pay off as you grow and help you continue to deepen relationships with your donors.

Good luck!

Looking for more advice?

If you missed our webinar with Erik, be sure to check it out here. And, if you’re looking for more great advice from someone who knows the ins and outs of fundraising, we encourage you to read Erik’s book, The Little Book of Gold. Forbes rated it as a Top 12 Must-Read Book for Nonprofit Employees, and it’s full of practical, actionable fundraising wisdom.

If you’re using Little Green Light, we also want to point you to LGL’s Companion Guide to The Little Book of Gold. Each chapter of Erik’s book covers an essential aspect of fundraising, and in our companion guide we’ve written corresponding chapters to show you how to use Little Green Light to implement Erik’s advice.

How to access “The Little Book of Gold” and LGL’s Companion Guide

For Little Green Light customers:

Little Green Light customers can download their FREE digital copy of Erik’s book, The Little Book of Gold, along with LGL’s Companion Guide, right from within their LGL account. Simply visit the Help page in your account and click the blue “Get free copy” button at the top right of the page. Your free copy of The Little Book of Gold is available throughout 2022.

For Non-LGL customers:

Erik Hanberg’s The Little Book of Gold is available at Amazon, the author’s website, and wherever books are sold.

LGL’s Companion Guide is available as a free download at

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