Build relationships with donors

Your donors and sponsors are vital! Building trustworthy relationships to ensure ongoing support.

Public benefit organisations and the work they do would not exist without the funds generously provided for by donors and sponsors. Building trustworthy relationships to secure ongoing support requires regular, effective interaction with donors and sponsors. 

Relationship building can be daunting, and it needn’t be. Remember the goal is to build a long-term relationship, one that will grow over time. To foster this goal, consider some of the following ideas:

Keep donors and sponsors updated

Publish regular newsletters, email updates or social media posts to highlight recent achievements and challenges using a mix of text, photos and short videos. Where possible tailor responses to the preference of your donors and sponsors - it may be by email, social media or a phone call. Remember to respond promptly and professionally to communication received, be it via email or a social media post. Always be honest and transparent, be it about finances, projects, or programmes to build trust and credibility.

Invite participation and engagement

Host events where donors and sponsors can interact with the beneficiaries of your organisation’s work. It may be to a social gathering, fund-raiser event, project sites or workshops showcasing current initiatives. Participation need not be limited to financial contributions. Prompt sponsors and donors to give of their time and serve on a board or volunteer. 

Feedback – be open to it

Ask for feedback from your donors and sponsors. It will guide you in tweaking your fundraising strategy, and social media campaigns, ultimately giving you insight into what is important to them and why they are on board with your organisation.  

Learn about your donors and sponsors

Do you know who your donors and sponsors are? What are their interests? What motivated them to give? If you can, find out. It will strengthen your relationship.


Take the time to write personalised thank you messages to donors and sponsors. Using what you know about your donors and sponsors, what they have done or donated and the impact it has had will allow for sincere, well-written letters. Where appropriate, remember to acknowledge your donors and sponsors publicly. 

Genuine long-standing relationships are built on mutual respect, trust and transparency. Your organisation’s interactions with donors and sponsors should keep their preferences and values in mind but never at the expense of your organisation’s mission. 

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