So you just raised a bunch of money to fund your organization for the next three years. Or maybe you raised a new pot of money to use towards special projects. You spent at least half of your year meeting with current investors and new investors asking them for their participation and you poured a lot of energy into creating a program of work that they could buy into, that promises a strong future for your community. Hooray! We’re done, right?
Absolutely not. I hate to break it to you, but you’re just getting started. The only thing more important than raising money is retaining it through your full funding cycle. If you’re anyone in fundraising, you already know this to be true. It’s fundraising 101! Yet, the most important piece of any successful investor retention plan is sometimes the most often overlooked and/or the most begrudged: face-to-face meetings with your investors.
RDG has worked with hundreds of organizations across the United States and no matter what, face-to-face meetings will always be among our investor relations strategy recommendations. Why? Because it works. Investors want to see value in their involvement and while benefits such as invitations to certain meetings or marketing promotion of sorts do offer tangible ROI, your relationship with those investors will always be most important. At the end of the day, they want to feel connected and they want to feel appreciated. Some investors ONLY invest because of a personal or close relationship to someone on staff or part of the leadership team. They don’t receive any direct benefit from the investment and are happy to contribute to help out a friend. When an investor commits to participating in your organization, their investment could total $1,000 or $100,000. For some, $100,000 might be a drop in the bucket and for others, $1,000 is really a large investment for them to give to an EDO or Chamber. Each dollar coming in is important and each investor should be considered important, no matter how large or small.
So how can you make sure that your meetings with investors are on the right track? Most importantly, make sure that no monetary ask is involved. Don’t become the organization they only hear from when you want them to cut another check. While newsletters, emails, and networking events do go a long way, one-on-one, in person meetings allow you to connect with the investor and ask them if they might need help with something, look for opportunities for them to be more involved, and check in to make sure they feel their investment is worthwhile. When that conversation is finished, your investor will feel they are valued and be more inclined to continue to be involved, whether or not the rest of the benefits they receive necessarily give them strong ROI.
When our clients implement this and other strategies, captured in a comprehensive investor engagement and communications platform, they experience on average a 95% investment pledge retention rate. Put the hard work in on the front end to reap the benefits in the long run and set your organization up for success so that the next round of fundraising will be smooth and seamless.