I’d never heard the term Closing the Circle until I attended a major gift symposium recently. One of the sessions I attended had to do with stewardship. The facilitator made a big deal, and rightfully so, of the importance of “closing the circle:” in other words, the intelligent use of gifts, reporting back on gift impact, thanking, informing, and involving donors.
All of the above, of course, to cultivate donors for that next gift or, ideally, many future gifts, if we’re being honest.
When your organization stewards a donor it should consider a strategy that confirms to the donor his or her wise decision to make the original gift and to draw that donor ever closer to the organization.
I often talk about the importance of acquiring a 2nd gift quickly. And it is important. However, proper stewardship is the key to cultivating long-term donor loyalty.
So, while it is important to get that 2nd gift quickly, you must give 1st time donors the opportunity to see the impact of their first gift before asking for a 2nd one.
See how it works? You get the first gift and report back almost immediately (perhaps in the thank you process) on the impact the gift is already having. This “reporting back” to the donor business on the effect of the 1st gift requires strong communications about the change the donor’s 1st gift has made in the lives of those your organization serves.