Offer Nonprofit Donors Gratitude Experiences, Not Tote Bags

I_don't_need_no_stinkin'_tote_bag_001I often say “if you want gifts, you must give them.”

I want to “clairify” that I mean this somewhat metaphorically.

I mean you shouldn’t focus only on getting, but also on giving.

Your relationship with your donors shouldn’t be all take, take, take.

That being said, most donors don’t want a lot of “stuff.”  They particularly don’t want expensive and/or useless stuff.  In other words, you don’t have to give them tangible gifts of tote bags, coffee mugs and socks.  Instead, consider giving them “gratitude experiences.”

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Donor’s Lament: You Didn’t Thank Me Properly

Cookie Monster when his name is misspelled

Everything I learned about saying “thank you” I learned from:

According to Burk’s research from Donor-Centered Fundraising, more than 80% of thank you letters start with “Thank you for your generous gift of…” or “On behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you for your generous gift of…”

Y  A  W  N

  • Want to stand out?
  • Want your donor to actually read your letter?
  • Want your donor to feel good about the decision they made to invest in you?
  • Want your donor to feel warm and fuzzy inside?
  • Want your donor to say “Aw, that’s SO nice!”
  • Want your donor to feel the opposite of bored?
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Wisdom from My Mom to Supercharge Your Fundraising

 

Why and How to Invoke the Power of Thank You

My mother was known for having impeccable manners. At her memorial service, it seemed as if every other person who shared a memory talked about her manners. They did so not in a nitpicking way, but in a loving way.  It seemed she always knew just the right thing to do to show her appreciation.

Maybe that’s why I love writing thank you notes.  Seriously, it’s my favorite thing to do in all of fundraising.  And it’s undoubtedly why, when I first heard Penelope Burk speak in 2001, it completely changed my approach to the practice of donor development.

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8 Top Ways to Send Nonprofit Donors Love on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day offers the perfect opportunity for donor stewardship!

And you’ve still got time to send a little love your donors’ way.

Why might this be something for you to consider, amidst all the other “to-do’s” on your plate?

If you don’t do a lot more donor loving, you’re going to do a lot more donor losing.

I hope by now you know donor retention is the name of the game. It costs so much more to acquire a new donor than to keep an existing one. Yet too few nonprofits have serious, intentional donor stewardship programs in place. Because of that, on average, nonprofits lose more than 8 out of 10 first-time donors and more than 6 out of 10 ongoing ones.

Don’t be one of those organizations whose donors only hear from you when you want something from them.

Be generous, and show them how much their support means to you. Do this frequently, like it’s part of breathing for you.

They love you, and show you.

You love them, and show them.

You’ll be amazed at how a little love can go a long way.

There are 364 other days each year on which you can fundraise.

This year why not dedicate Valentine’s Day to giving, not asking? Think about those donors for whom you’d like to show some special love, because they showed you some. Show them you noticed! It could be:

  • Major donors.

  • Monthly donors.

  • Donors who’ve given faithfully for five years or more.

  • Donors who increased their giving this year.

  • Donors who also volunteer.

  • Board and committee members.

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THANKS(for)GIVING: 9 Mistakes Nonprofits Make Thanking Donors

Thanking donors is the one thing most nonprofits do not spend enough time thinking about. Too often I find that staff spend 95% of their time crafting their fundraising appeal and getting embroiled in project management — design, layout, printing, postage, etc.  Finally, the letter (or e-appeal) is ready to launch.  The mailing is dropped. The button is punched. And… voila!  Gifts start to arrive! But then what?!

After you’ve sent out your appeal is too late to start thinking about what your thank you letter or email will say. Or who will sign it. Or whether someone who donates online will also receive an actual letter. Or thank you call. Or who will make the call. Everything must be well thought-out in advance. You must be ready to go, with different templates and strategies for different target audiences, well before you’ve asked for your first donation.

What would Miss Manners have to say about the way you too often focus more on the gift than on the giver? She would not be happy.  Not happy at all.  So, make a vow to remedy this situation before we kick into prime giving season.

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10 Ways to Build Donor Trust and Overcome Negative Views about Charities

trustWhat prompted me to write this article was a recent post by Matthew Sherrington on the 101 Fundraising Blog about the dangers to the public benefit sector posed by erosion of trust.  We’ve known for some time that whenever there’s a charity scandal, the bad behavior of one player can become detrimental to all.  But over the past year in the U.K. the problem has become even more challenging. Could it happen here?  Matthew says “yes.”  And I concur.  Trust is a fragile thing.

In the U.K what happened was a perfect storm of perceived over-solicitation and insufficient outcomes, exacerbated by a barrage of media that sounded an alarm about nefarious practices.  Trust plummeted. A wake-up call, for sure.

But what does it mean?

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Important News about Relationship Fundraising: Stop Losing Donors

This is important.

It’s about a new report that may change how you do fundraising.

It should.

Let me explain.

Unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel, by now you should know that most nonprofits have been hemorrhaging donors.

By tending to focus more on expensive, staff-intensive acquisition strategies like direct mail and special events, charities are bringing in one-time donors who never give to them again.

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