How to Treat Donors Well & Common Mistakes to Avoid

published on 31 March 2023

How a candidate treats their donors is significant; beyond the common decency of being appreciative of a person who gives you money, treating donors well is a good way to receive more contributions from them in the future. There are some common mistakes that candidates make after receiving a contribution that make donors far less likely to continue donating in the future. Here’s a list of ways a candidate should treat donors, as well as things they should absolutely avoid.

Never neglect good, old fashioned Thank You Notes

It might seem obvious to send a personal thank you note to somebody who’s donated to your campaign, but unfortunately many campaigns simply take the money and either send an automated response, or don’t show any appreciation at all. Sending a personal letter of appreciation is a good way to build a positive relationship with a donor and continue receiving their support.

Make non-fundraising related phone calls

Not all interactions with donors have to be pleas for more donations. Donors should be treated as friends, not piggy banks. A simple friendly phone call from time to time can go a long way in building a strong relationship. At Trailmapper, we refer to these as “Warm & Fuzzy” touches.

Invite your donors to events

Inviting donors to events is another great way to strengthen your relationship. After all, their money was likely spent on the event in question. Further, there should be some tangible benefit for donors aside from seeing your campaign succeed.

Don't spam your major donors...

Campaign fundraising unfortunately often takes the form of what is perceived as spam. Receiving a deluge of automated blast campaign donation solicitation emails is extremely common after a donor completes a donation. Endless emails asking for more money are a great way to annoy any donor or potential donor, and for you to never see another cent from those donors.

Nobody likes getting spammed, and this is especially true when you’re getting spammed as a result of supporting a candidate. Just because someone gave to you doesn’t mean they’ve opted in to receive spam – it makes no sense to punish somebody for giving you money. It comes across as rude (because it is) and makes the donor in question never want to hear from your campaign again, much less give to your campaign again.

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