Fundraising Academy Blog

8 Steps to Tracking Your Follow Up and Retaining Your Donors

Follow Up
Follow-up is arguably one of the most important steps of the cause selling cycle.

By the time you make it to the follow-up stage, you’ve worked your way through the steps: you did your research, you found out what the donor’s needs were, you made a compelling presentation, answered any objections they had, and made the ask. You took the time to build a strong relationship, so it’s important to keep it going!

The gift isn’t complete until the donor feels appreciated by both you and your organization. It’s up to you to follow up and keep them engaged with your organization.

Not sure the best way to follow up with your donors? Here are 8 steps to help you track your follow up and retain your donors: 

1. Start a “best donor” list. Select a manageable number of your best donors and code them in your database to track all engagement.

2. Create a file for each donor. This can be a physical or electronic file, depending on the tools your organization has available. These files should include all the information you have regarding that specific donor including past gifts, personal information, as well as any communication between your organization and the donor.

3. Identify partners. Find centers of influence you have in common. For example, are they friends with someone on your board? If so, ask your board member be the one to introduce you. Be sure to write these names down in the appropriate donor file.

4. Talk to the influencers. Consult with these influencers/partners about the donor and record any and all findings. This is a great way to find out what the potential donor’s interests are so you can propose a gift that aligns with their values.

5. Pick a contact. Select one person in your organization to be the relationship manager. 

6. Develop a targeted strategy based on their needs. Don’t do this alone, bring influencers and all data in and let that guide your strategy for each donor.

7. Plan a year ahead. Plan your moves for the next year with each donor and establish objectives for the year. As a general rule, plan one move per month for your best donors.

8. Review and revise. Record and review your results and refine your strategy as needed. This includes asking the donor how things are going and if they are happy with their contribution to and connection with the organization.


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This blog was written based on the content of the Cause Selling Webinar presented by Krista Berry Ortega and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University on January 17, 2018. 

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