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  • roland00047

Don't Wait, Tell Your Story Now


 

Earlier this month, I enjoyed attending the Philanthropy Miami Ignite! Conference. It was a welcome opportunity to reconnect with many colleagues and expand my knowledge through insightful presentations. The speakers reminded me once again that there’s always more to learn and plenty to remember!


As the day ended, I realized several presentations had a common thread that we too often take for granted.


Building Trust Through Communication


Speaker after speaker expressed appreciation for receiving personal feedback from the organizations they financially support. They stressed the impact of short updates from their funded organizations and highlighted how natural engagement intensified their connection and enhanced their support.


I heard it again and again: donors and grantors enjoy hearing from the organizations they fund. But not just formal, standard, and factual reports, but exciting and positive news when it happens!


Yes, there are formal stipulations for grant reporting, typically at 6 months or a year. But is that enough? Not if you want to stand out.


Grantors and donors want to know that their money is being used wisely and that the promises made during the funding process are being kept. And it's not just about reassurance; it's also about a sense of partnership and collaboration. Grantors and donors enjoy being a part of the journey.


 


In Their Own Words


I heard one group of funders respond to a great question from the audience: What makes you happy when you provide funding? Their answers . . . . . .


  • We want to witness, listen to, and learn about the tangible impact of our contribution. We seek more than just numbers; we are interested in narratives illuminating the depth of change.

  • Personalized interactions matter greatly. Whether through an email, a brief call, or a short Instagram-style video message, a personal message speaks volumes compared to a generic presentation addressed to all.

  • Fulfilling promises is paramount. We want to learn how your commitments are transforming into realities. Tell us of specific accomplishments or milestones; share your success, don’t wait to share exciting progress!

  • Even when time is scarce, extending an invitation to visit your initiative is appreciated. It strengthens our connection. We can say no, but sometimes we will say yes!


 

Recently, an organization I work with discovered a new and willing grantor, based on a connection through a board member. The grant would fund a new community outreach position. A month after receiving the $100,000 grant, the organization successfully hired a candidate. Within two weeks, results began to come in. No report was due for another 5 months. So, should we wait?


Heck no! We created a brief email report introducing the new person, including a bio, salary, and budget plans for the grant. We described how pleased we were to see results so quickly. The connecting board member shared this update with the grantor, explaining how quickly the grant had made a difference. This was warmly received, and the grantor responded with a request to visit the program soon!


 


Partners


In today's interconnected world, there are countless communication channels. Organizations should keep grantors and donors informed and engaged, making them feel like valued partners in the journey toward change.


Fundraising is about relationships. It’s not about signing the check and moving on. Your donors are often deeply invested in the causes they support, and they want to feel proud of their impact. More than just receiving formal reports, they appreciate real-time communication and updates that provide insights into how their contributions make a difference.


Stop and think, what has been happening with your organization lately? Make a habit of thinking about this every week, perhaps even every day, and reaching out naturally. You’ll create more trusting and honest relationships with those who make your mission possible.


Start sharing today!

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