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6 Secrets to Getting Your Donor Thank You Out in 48 Hours

Did you get my gift? Why haven't I heard from you yet?
Did you get my gift? Why haven’t I heard from you yet? Is this how you run the rest of your business?

In my work with nonprofits, especially the small to medium-sized ones (but sometimes the big ones too!) there’s one question many of you struggle with:

Gosh dang it! How on earth do you develop a system that assures thank you’s really get out in 48 hours?

The good news is: You’re not alone.  The even better news is: I’m going to give you the answer to your question.

HERE’S THE BIGGEST SECRET:

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Borrow from Jimmy Fallon to Keep More Donors

Set aside some time to show gratitude - you'll be doubly rewarded!
Set aside some time to show gratitude – you’ll be doubly rewarded!

TYIF!

If you’re a fan of late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon, you know he sets aside time every Friday night to write thank you letters. I think of it as “TYIF” (“Thank You It’s Friday). Jimmy’s notes are usually creative and thought-provoking, like “Thank you, emails that say “You have successfully unsubscribed from these emails,” for completely missing the point. One of his band members plays some soothing music that’s conducive to thank you writing – after a while, the music alone is enough to get you in a grateful, thank-you-writing mood!

What if your nonprofit did the same thing?!

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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!

I hope that 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 7 out of 10 first-time donors and 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. 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. It could be your major donors. Or your monthly donors. Or your donors who’ve given faithfully for five years or more. Or your donors who also volunteer. Or your board and committee members.

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#GivingTuesday – How to Be a Winner

In my last post, #Giving Tuesday, Win or Lose Day? You’re in Control I talked about the origins of the day and all the good intentions that went into its creation. Yet I’ve heard from many, many nonprofits that they just don’t have the bandwidth to develop and promote one more fundraising initiative during this very busy time of year. I’ve been there, and I empathize.

Sometimes the newest bells and whistles are simply a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing in the end.  But rather than reject the notion of #GivingTuesday out of hand, I began to wonder if there were ways to jump on the bandwagon without cannibalizing other types of year-end fundraising.  Or without burning out staff and volunteers. Or without confusing donors who feel like they’re being asked for this, that and every such thing.

I noted that I love the idea of using #GivingTuesday to celebrate and thank our donors. We don’t thank our supporters nearly enough, so why not have a day dedicated to donor love?

I think there’s a way to make #GivingTuesday about both giving and getting. And I promised to share an example with you in my last post.

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Losing Too Many Donors? 5 No-Brainer Ways to Keep Them

 

When it comes to improving donor retention, I often try to guide organizations through the process of shifting their thinking – and the culture of their organization – in the direction of gratitude rather than greediness toward their donors.

What’s important about making this philosophical shift is that it forces you to think very specifically about what you’re grateful for.

You aren’t simply asking your donors for money. Similarly, you aren’t thanking your donors for money.

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What My Mother Taught Me and How it Informs My Fundraising Practice

 

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 development.

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3 Rules for Thanking Nonprofit Donors that Should Never Be Broken

If you’re not retaining as many donors as you’d like, you’ve no one to blame but yourself. And I’m here to tell you why.

You’re Not Thanking Donors Properly.

I’m serious. How you handle donor acknowledgements is that important. Yet, sadly, most of you do an absolutely rotten job of showing your donors how much they mean to you.

Part of the problem is due to focusing on acquisition at the expense of retention. Most executive and development directors don’t even know their retention rates without looking them up.

DUDES! Your retention rates should be on the tips of your tongues! If you don’t know how you’re doing, how can you improve?

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6 Traits of Relationship-Building Nonprofits + 4 Most Effective Ways to Retain Donors

Donor retention has continued to plummet every year for the past seven years.  It’s really, truly an awful problem. For some unknown reason, all that hard work you put into acquiring new donors is, seemingly, being wasted. Why?

I recently asked folks what ONE word they would use to sum up what is needed to transform donor loyalty. I received some interesting answers and thought I’d share them with you, along with my comments, here. First, let me remind you of my own Big Secret — the one principle I’ve found that makes the greatest difference to long-term, sustainable fundraising success:

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