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At Allegiance Group + Pursuant, we’re passionate about helping nonprofits connect donors to the causes that inspire them. At its core, relationship fundraising is about connecting donors to the causes that ignite their passions.

The concept of “relationship fundraising” is important, but what do we really mean when we say that?

What is relationship fundraising?

Relationship fundraising is a style of recruiting donors through building interpersonal relationships with them and keeping the long-term relationship top of mind. Relationship fundraising’s goal in building lasting interpersonal relationships is getting multiple gifts of increasing value, rather than a single large donation. The converse, transactional fundraising, focuses more on achieving the goal of getting a specific dollar amount. It doesn’t matter if a person gives more than once as long as the goal is met. In our research and experience, relationship fundraising is far more cost-effective than transactional because of the increasing cost of impressions. With a relationship fundraising approach, the initial gifts may be lower, but a nonprofit ends up gaining more over time because it does not have the cost associated with recruiting new one-time givers.

The 4 stages of the donor journey

The process of relationship fundraising is called “the donor journey.” A philanthropist embarks on this “donor journey” as she morphs from being a person who has an awareness of a cause to becoming a fully committed donor. Research and case studies tell us that the lifetime value of passionate, committed donors far surpasses the amount raised through a transactional approach. There are four clear stages of the donor journey:

1. Awareness. Make the donor feel something. Connect the donor with the beneficiary’s needs.

2. Exploration. Move from intrusion to invitation. Offer donors choice.

3. Expansion. Deemphasize the charity as the middleman.

4. Commitment. Invite the donor to consider how future investment could make them feel.

Are you issuing an RFP to find a partner to help take your fundraising program to the next level? We’d love to be considered! As an agency built by fundraisers for fundraisers, Allegiance Group + Pursuant has helped hundreds of organizations raise billions of dollars through our direct response, direct mail, digital, and analytics services. Contact us today.

Want to take your fundraising to the next level?