Donors Need Love, Too

February 13, 2017 - by Lisa Maska

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day — so what better time to think about showing your donors some love?

Ideally, you are thinking about your donors every day of the year. After all, your work is only possible with their support. And, you have worked hard to acquire and retain them. By showing them some special extra attention, you can help make sure that they keep your organization at the top of their charitable giving list.

Here are some easy ideas to get you started:

Surprise them with an unexpected “thank you.” 

This can be anything! One easy idea is a simple “thank you” postcard. Show a photo on the front that illustrates your mission in action (perhaps a happy photo of a senior receiving his or her home-delivered meal), with the words “Thank you!”.  The back can be pre-printed with a brief yet heartfelt message of gratitude —recognizing that your work is only possible with the donor’s help. The beauty of this postcard is that no one can mistake it for an ask — and it really stands out in the mail box.

Show them the impact of their support in your newsletter. 

All too often, newsletters are “organization-centric” and talk all about YOU. But by shifting your focus slightly, you can convey the message that your donors were critical in helping you accomplish the work you are reporting on. Also, you can include a “donor spotlight” to recognize a longtime supporter. Don’t look for a major donor — instead look for a reliable donor of more modest gifts, whom you have been able to count on over the years. This not only makes the donor feel good, but also shows your other modest donors that they don’t have to make big gifts to be important to you.

Call them out of the blue.  

Personal phone calls are a fantastic way to get your donors’ attention. And they’re not as hard as you think. Keep tabs on your daily gift reports and choose a few donors to call each week. Look for longtime donors who increased their support (they will be happily surprised that you noticed) … a lapsed donor who came back … or a new donor who just joined. If you get voice mail, don’t be deterred — you can simply leave a nice message. Do you need more callers? Ask Board Members to make a few calls each month. If you provide donors’ names, phone numbers, and a short “thank you” script, you’ll be surprised at your Board’s enthusiasm to make these calls.

Make sure everyone in your organization is on board with donor appreciation. 

This is an easy change that costs you nothing. Create a culture of donor appreciation within your organization by talking about your donors — and how critical they are — with all of your staff. From the receptionist who answers the phone to your program staff — make sure they all understand the value of your fundraising program and the donors who support you. This small shift in thinking can have a big payoff, when the donors who call and visit are met with a genuinely warm reception.

Thank them quickly for their gifts. 

This may seem obvious, but it is an easy way to make a bigger impact. Take a look at how many days it takes you to send a thank you letter after receipt of a gift. The faster you send the thank you, the better the impression it makes on the donors. An immediate thank you letter tells the donor that you deeply appreciate the gift, and value their giving.

Do you have other ideas for ways to make your donors feel special? If so, please email us – we would love to hear them!