TIP #1: This is a good month for a brief donor survey.

Donor surveys offer you a “twofer.” One is for you (useful information); the other is for your donor (a way to usefully participate other than giving money). [See 2 Reasons Donor Surveys are Valuable].

Find out what it is about your organization your donors like most. Or what programs are their favorites. Or what issues they believe are most pressing right now. Or ask them what one adjective best describes your organization to them. Or what their favorite social media channel is. This information can be gold to you as you prepare your content calendar and campaign materials for the fall, and beyond.

Surveying donors does not have to be a complex process (Survey Monkey and Googledocs both have free versions) — and once you get the hang of it, your fundraising materials will practically write themselves!

How does this work?

After surveying your supporters you’ll know what your donors want you to tell them (vs. what you want to tell them). It’s the difference between “organization-centric” and “donor-centric” communications.  And it’s huge.  In survey after survey, donors are telling us we aren’t doing an effective job communicating with them.


Penelope Burk nailed this when she said, years ago, in her ground-breaking “Donor-Centered Fundraising” book“Show me that you know me.”

TIP #2: Time to do some spring clean-up of your database!

This is a good time to prepare your list for your upcoming fall campaign. Use services such as the National Change of Address (NCOA) at least once a year to keep up with current home addresses. This can save you a significant amount money as addresses change frequently due to moves, divorces and deaths. There’s a new tool called TrueNCOA that will process any file for $20 using the NCOA records of the US Postal Service. They’ll also do address verification and eliminate duplicates — all for the single fee.

Did you know 10% of all U.S. nonprofit mail appeals won’t even be delivered? That’s because nearly 45 million Americans move each year, and for many their mail is undeliverable because of incorrect addresses.  Yipes!

TIP #3: Hold a Thankathon before you next solicit your donors

You honestly can’t thank folks enough. They deserve it!

Gratitude is most effective when it’s repeated (per research by Dr. Martin Seligman). So don’t let the fact that your donor has received an emailed or mailed thank you stop you from connecting more personally.

Plus it’s a great opportunity to connect, get some feedback, maybe learn a bit about how they got connected with you, and see if there are other ways they’d like to become involved.

Get your board members, volunteers, staffers or even clients involved. Make it fun. (They’ll come if you feed them supper!)

Call your donors and thank them for everything they have done to help the (children, students, elderly, poor, hungry, prisoners, sick, etc).

Don’t thank them for helping your organization be successful. Instead thank them for the impact THEY are making.

Take the time to appreciate your donors BEFORE you send another solicitation. Then they are much more likely to keep your organization on their short list of favored causes.

And don’t forget to:

TIP #4: Calendar items you may want to piggy-back your appeals and/or donor communications on in the coming months:

  • Memorial Day and Flag Day (work with veterans?)
  • Graduation (work with students?)
  • Father’s Day (work with children? seniors? animals who have babies?)
  • Summer solstice (environmental organization?)
  • Check out a few wacky holiday calendars here and here.

Have a wonderful and successful month!