Donor Love: Identifying "Donor Love Languages"

pexels-photo-424517.jpegBack in June of this year, NonProfit Pro published an article about the five "Donor Love Languages," stemming from Dr. Gary Chapman's well-known book about strengthening romantic relationships, "The 5 Love Languages." With Thanksgiving on the horizon, many of us really start to think about the things, people and situations that we are thankful for. Oftentimes, these include our family, friends, jobs and opportunities and Thanksgiving and the holiday season offer the ideal chance to show love and thankfulness in a very tangible way.

Sometimes, in the midst of all the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, we forget that our donors need to feel that appreciation, too, in a way that resonates with them.

1. Hands-on Service: Today's donors want to be involved in your mission. They don't just want to get a postcard in the mail or a letter in their inbox telling them what your organization accomplished - they want to be part of that process and be a hands-on part of your team.

2. Words of Affirmation: For some donors, the thank-you calls, handwritten notes and personal letters are priceless. Receiving some kind of acknowledgement for their service or donation is what they need to feel loved and appreciated, so it's important to note which donors have responded positively to your words of affirmation - that just might be their Donor Love Language.

3. Tokens of Appreciation: We all know those donors who love to receive a physical gift or token from your organization, but we're not necessarily talking about branded pens and bumper stickers. Donors who fall into this category enjoy receiving handmade cards from the children's organization you support, hand-delivered cookies from a local bakery, a personalized photo from an event they supported. Make sure your gifts are unique and personal for donors who love tokens of appreciation.

4. Quality Time: For some, you just can't beat a face-to-face meeting. Sometimes a phone call or email conversation can feel strained or disconnected, and donors who give off this vibe often do it because they prefer quality time with you. Plan a monthly or quarterly meeting over coffee or lunch, invite them to visit your office or commit to touching base with them in person at your next event. A one-on-one meeting can strengthen your relationship with the donor and make them feel like they are valued and have a deeper understanding of your mission.

5. Proof of Impact: Some people (believe it or not) are numbers people. Donors who fall into this category don't just want to be involved, they want to see the measurable outcomes of your organization's outreach and work. Send them an annual report, a monthly newsletter with stories and outcomes or even one-off emails with statistics related to a project that they are personally involved in. It's important to make a point to keep this type of donor clued-in to what's going on from an analytics perspective.

When you think about your donors, do you find that they often fit into one (or more) of these categories? We encourage you, this holiday season and beyond, to focus on your donors' Donor Love Language and make them truly feel like the valued contributor that they are!