The seven best ways to communicate with your supporters.
Cultivation is a process that takes time, not a one-shot deal.
One of the most important factors in growing support for your faith-focused organization is effective communication with your supporters. They want to hear from you. We call the process of communicating and building relationships with them “supporter cultivation”.
Cultivation is a process. It is not a one-shot deal. Proper cultivation takes time. It doesn’t need to cost a lot, but it does take a lot of time and work by your staff, board, and volunteers.
The goal of cultivation is to build relationships. People give to faith-centered organizations because they believe in the mission and have developed a relationship of some sort with those organizations.
People want to get caught up in your vision, so let them! Cast a big vision and paint a big picture. Most people, even the rich and famous, get stuck in their daily routines, and they don’t like it. Help them break free by getting caught up in bigger stories and visions. As a faith-focused organization, you provide another great way for people to escape the routine and get caught up in a larger story.
Communication is the lynchpin of your cultivation program. To truly build relationships with your supporters, you need to communicate with them- to keep them apprised of what is going on with your organization, to seek their advice and counsel, and give them the opportunity to participate in the communal life of your faith-focused organization.
Here are a few of the best ways you can communicate with your supporters as part of your development program:
- 1. Your Newsletter- the backbone of your organization's cultivation program
- 2. Your Website- the hub of your online activities
- 3. Stewardship Events- the free events reflecting your mission
- 4. Public Relations- yes, PR is communication. Each story about your organization a potential supporter sees
- 5. Phone Calls- can be as short as a thank-you, personal phone calls can go a long way
- 6. Committee Membership- people who and plan initiatives related to your organization
- 7. Peer-to-Peer Initiatives- your most faithful supporters calling or meeting with individuals
In order to build a strong supporter communication and cultivation program starts when you select a mix of these strategies that work within your organization’s budget and time frame. Set a goal to communicate with each of your supporters several times per year to thank them for their efforts and keep them engaged. This kind of program will lead to stronger relationships that build more support for your faith-focused organization.