Posted by Susan Alexander on March 21st, 2011
Posted in Blog, Nonprofit Annual Report, Nonprofit Communications, Nonprofit Fundraising Tags: donor acknowledgement, donor cultivation, fundraising, Nonprofit Fundraising, thank you
If your mother was like mine, you grew up writing thank you notes every time someone sent you a gift. It was an awful chore I always complained about, but as I grew older, I realized it is a simple courtesy that doesn’t require much of me but means a lot to the person being thanked. Maybe my small expressions of appreciation even made them more inclined to send me something on my next birthday…
It’s no different for your organization. People will be more inclined to continue giving if you express your appreciation promptly and sincerely, just like your mother taught you. In fact, there’s even a rule of fundraising thumb: it takes seven thank you’s to receive a gift consistent with a donor’s capacity. In other words, you need to thank them a lot to get the most out of them.
An old fundraising adage is that people give to people, so saying thank you provides an opportunity to open a conversation and begin a relationship with your donor or prospect.
The primary reason donors stop giving is that they don’t like the way an organization treated them. Either they weren’t thanked adequately or all they got were constant, desperate pleas for more with no attendant expressions of appreciation.
So now perhaps you’re wondering, what are all things I can thank them for to reach that magic number seven? Here are some ideas:
As your mom told you, saying thank you only takes a few moments, but the rewards are long-lasting.
For more ideas on how to thank your donors and for other fundraising tips, visit the Network for Good Learning Center at http://www.fundraising123.org/fundraising.
What are some creative ways you have used to thank your donors?
Susan Alexander is a Mission Minded Senior Strategist. She has decades of experience working with nonprofit organizations as a communications and fundraising consultant.
See all posts by Susan Alexander