The continuing importance of face-to-face interactions for nonprofits

June 17, 2014

The continuing importance of face-to-face interactions for nonprofits

The Internet has provided many options for nonprofits to ask for gifts and raise awareness of their missions. One of the biggest concerns for modern, connected charitable organizations is managing all the email, social media and mobile outreach channels they use to connect with current donors and attract new supporters. Organizations that are finding success in managing all of these different electronic efforts should make sure they're also including one of the most effective tools for fundraising in the mix: face-to-face meetings. It can be easy to focus on the efficiency of mass communication, but meetings in person offers advantages that simply aren't present with other methods.

Here are a few reasons why nonprofits shouldn't neglect face-to-face communication in their development efforts:

  • Conversations are powerful: Nonprofit Quarterly pointed out the more relaxed atmosphere of in-person meetings make potential contributors feel more at home and less like just another person being pressured to give. A lunch meeting with a mid- or high-level donor easily leads to a discussion about how previous contributions have helped and validates specific examples of how a nonprofit cares about the donor. General relationship building and the shared experience of breaking bread can also create positive feelings that aren't directly tied to contributions but still create a beneficial association with the organization.
  • Meetings can be framed as an exclusive reward: This approach takes a certain amount of tact but can certainly pay off. NPEngage said that the face-to-face interaction comes as a payoff for a gradually developing relationship, ideally one where a contributor has been making increasing donations. By letting important supporters know such meetings only take place with those who have helped a nonprofit significantly, their sense of inclusion and prominence will help the giving process continue. When a board member or other top-level leader takes the time to meet with the contributor, these two factors are even more apparent.
  • Issues are easier to resolve face to face: This may seem obvious, but the best way to resolve donor's questions or issues is by interacting with them through the most personal means possible. Facial expressions and body language convey more information than an email or phone call alone, and the act of inviting someone to meet and mutually resolve a conflict or provide reassurance can be especially effective.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.

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