Remembering the Relationships: How to Engage Donors With the "Two Touches" Approach

Advancement professionals think about donors and prospects regularly – whether we’re wondering if a prospect will fund a gift proposal, or a donor will take our meeting request. But as much as these donors and prospects may be top of mind, our actions can send a very different message. We get busy, or focused on just a few relationships, and can let months go by without communicating with those we want to draw closest.

This can be especially true when stewarding long-time donors. Development officers often get so focused on new prospects and upcoming gifts that they forget how important it is to maintain long-term relationships with those that have already given (and often times have the capacity for continued giving). Engagement officers focus on the top tier and in doing so, don’t steward their “silver medalists” appropriately.

This pattern is why I’m a champion of a Two Touches exercise: starting every workday with two outreaches, or touches, to donors or organizational partners. This habit is an easy way to ensure we start every day the right way: focused on relationships!

When we begin each day this way, we’re reinforcing discipline and a focus on our most important work: building, enhancing or growing our relationships and the strategies that support them.

These daily touches are simple:

  • A handwritten note card of congratulations on a recent achievement (personal or professional)
  • An email sharing some news that might be of interest (our organizations are diverse, our outreach should be as well!)
  • A note in a birthday card that is truly personal
  • A news release that provides follow-up while rekindling the fire for your institution/organization
  • A text message with a photo of something happening at your organization (e.g. a commencement ceremony, a new wing opening or a new program opening)
  • A message celebrating a program milestone
  • A handwritten note attached to your organization’s latest publication

Every strategy we build relies on a relationship, and every relationship requires interactions both big and small. Focusing on the moves is important, but our strategies need both moves (active fundraising) and interactions (passive fundraising) to truly be successful. The Two Touches technique, when implemented habitually, creates ten small interactions per week – or over 400 per year.

How would these touches strengthen your strategies?

Begin by scheduling 10 minutes of time on your daily calendar for Two Touches every morning. This will ensure you do not schedule meetings or begin other work when you should be focused on donor engagement.

Always have a stack of organizational note cards on your desk as an easy reminder to keep this important activity front and center. And keep a running of list in your data base tasks section) or journal of donors and individuals you want to reach out to each month. You’ll be glad to see the results of making sure your donors, prospects and partners actually know when you’re thinking of them!

Who are you going to outreach to today?

Kathy Drucquer Duff, CFRE
Fundraising Coach, Consultant and Optimizer

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