Do you have a process-oriented approach to nurturing donors?

Do you have a way for people to refer friends to you?

If not, why not?

Recently, John Jantsch’s book, “The Referral Engine” has come up a lot in conversation. I read this book in April, 2010, after I saw a talk by Mr. Jantsch in Austin.

As I was talking about it on twitter, lamenting that I couldn’t find a video on this talk, Mr. Jantsch heard me, responded, and showed me the location of this video below, a free 60 minute workshop on his book. And I am SO grateful! You should buy his book, but also, check this video out!

Referral Engine Workshop from John Jantsch on Vimeo.

Mr. Jantsch has taught thousands of people these methods with incredible results for their businesses. Why not apply these to your nonprofit and get similar results?

Since you probably don’t have 60 minutes, I’m going to highlight some of the key things he says here:

Here is Mr. Jantsch’s definition of marketing:

Getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you.

Look at your entire donor experience. Create a remarkable donor experience, and more and more people will want to give to you.

Don’t think that this is all about social media. It’s not. You have to do a careful fusing of high tech and in person touches for your donor.

You can raise millions if you have a METHOD, if you have a STRUCTURE and a PROCESS in place to help people give to you. So what is that method? What’s the structure you need? What’s the process, the road that people go down to becoming major donors?

This is the Marketing Hourglass

But we could call it the Donor Cultivation Hourglass too!

Here’s the progression for people to become givers, not just one-time donors to your organization.

1. Know
First, get your donors to know you. This means getting out there, offline, online, in the media, any way you can. Get known for something, to differentiate your nonprofit from other nonprofits in town.

2. Like
How can you get donors to like you? By telling them that you like them! By giving them little touches and being consistent. Whether they sign up for your enewsletter or your monthly giving program, thank them in a timely way, and continue to update them on what you’re doing with their gift.

3. Trust
Transparency and Consistency is the key to trust. So I’ve told you how to build consistency above. Building transparency is somewhat more tricky. You can build transparency through having your expenses clearly listed on your website for each program, and having a donation thermometer for each program. You can have a video with your nonprofit leaders, talking about what they do, and put this on your website. Have a video with the wetlands you preserve, or people you serve, or animals you protect, or audience members who love you, and have them give testimonials about your organization. I recommend getting a flip camera because it’s under $100 and easy to upload and edit from.

4. Try
How do your donors TRY your organization? They come to an event. They call you. They email you. They might even donate a small amount, just to see what happens. So, when they try, how can you make them want more? Give your attention to them. Call them back. Email them right back. Get them to sign up for your e-newsletter at your event, and then email them that night to thank them for coming.

5. Buy
What Mr. Jantsch calls buy, we can call “Donate.” It amounts to the same thing. People are giving you money. They buy that you have a solution to a societal problem. When your donors donate, now you can start to nuke them with attention even more. Get them a thank you letter that day. Call to follow up and say thank you. Send them the e-newsletter, the paper newsletter, the annual report, and invite them to more events.

6. Repeat
When your donors start to give you monthly gifts, or start to repeat their gifts annually, or ramp up their gifts, you’ve got to be there, showing them you noticed what they did, saying thank you, and telling them about all of the exciting things your nonprofit is doing right now. Make them feel good about what they did, and they’ll want to repeat their gift, or give more, again and again.

7. Refer
Finally, this donor is in a good place, emotionally, to refer a friend to your nonprofit. Ask for that referral. If this person has become a major donor, then why not ask them if they have any friends who would like to be involved in creating a legacy with your organization? Give your donor keywords to listen for in conversations with friends, that could lead to referring them to your nonprofit, which is doing so much to help your community.

Any other tips you’d like to share for helping people get ready to give, and give big to your nonprofit?

Please comment below!

If you want more tips on how to get millions in grassroots donations, follow @wildwomanfund on twitter!