Are you taking over a portfolio and aren’t quite sure how to introduce yourself to donors that were once being managed by another fundraiser? Or maybe you’re moving into a new role at an organization with a well-known CEO who carries a lot of sway with your donors? Or perhaps you’re new to the Veritus qualification process, and you’re just not sure where to start with your introduction letter? If you said yes to any of these questions, then today’s blog post is for you.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, there are several key elements that should always be integrated into your introduction strategy:
- Express Gratitude for Past Support: Begin by acknowledging and thanking donors for their prior contributions. Show that you value their partnership with the organization.
- Showcase Impact Through Stories: Share a compelling story or language that illustrates the positive impact the donor has had on the organization’s mission.
- Introduce Yourself and Your Role: Briefly introduce yourself and your role within the organization. Whenever possible, establish a connection between your role and the mission of the organization, reinforcing your dedication to its cause.
- Indicate Follow-up Plans: Make your intentions clear by specifying how and when you’ll be following up. For instance, you might mention that you’ll be reaching out within the coming week. Assure them that your follow-up is aimed at building a deeper relationship and understanding their connection to the mission rather than a direct solicitation.
By incorporating these essential elements, you’re not only paving the way for further discussions but also alleviating any concerns donors may have about your intentions being solely monetary.
And, while I have you – we have one pet peeve in introduction letters. For the love of all things purple (as my colleague Lisa would say) – PLEASE don’t start every sentence with “I.”
Now, that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into the various scenarios that often arise when crafting an introduction letter.
Here are three common situations we see in coaching, along with sample letters to guide you.
(These samples are from real letters our clients have shared with us, so they’re not intended to be perfect examples for every scenario. We hope they may serve as inspiration to help you get started.)
- Transition from Previous MGO: In this case, you might want to consider having the CEO send the letter, introducing you as the new donor relations representative. They can share that you’ll be following up and can ask the donor to please take your call. Alternatively, you can send the letter, letting the donor know you’re their new point of contact.
- Transition within the Organization: This is a wonderful opportunity to partner with the former MGO and ask them to personally introduce you to the top tiered donors, based on the donor’s communication preferences. For those donors they don’t have a strong relationship with, a letter introducing you will still go a long way. I had one client that used a video to introduce her donors to someone else – it was a huge success. Be creative, based on what inspires your donor.
- Starting the Qualification Process: If you’re initiating the qualification process from scratch, leverage this opportunity to introduce yourself to donors. Emphasize how you will serve and support them moving forward, setting the tone for a collaborative and meaningful partnership.
Remember, while these scenarios serve as guidelines, tailoring your approach to each donor’s unique preferences and history is crucial. By thoughtfully customizing your introduction, you’ll create a foundation of trust and connection, setting the stage for a long-term relationship that will ultimately benefit your organization and bring your donors more joy.
Kara Ansotegui is Director of Client Services at Veritus Group. She has over 20 years of experience in non-profit leadership serving in fundraising and marketing executive roles. Kara has been responsible for strategic program development in major gifts, mid-level, and donor relations. She has served as the CRM data management SME for numerous non-profits. Kara has an undergraduate in Business Administration from Oregon State University and an MBA in Marketing from Georgia State University.