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

Donor surveys offer you a “twofer.”

  1. One is for you (useful information).
  2. One is for your donor (a way to usefully participate other than giving money).

This information can be gold to you as you prepare your content calendar and campaign materials moving forward.[See 2 Reasons Donor Surveys are Valuable].

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!

Find out what it is about your organization your donors like most.

  • What programs are their favorites?
  • What issues that you address do they believe are most pressing right now?
  • What one adjective best describes your organization to them?
  • Which of your publications are their favorite?
  • What one thing you accomplished last year do they feel was most important?

Find out what else informs your donor’s giving decisions.

  • What issues in your community are most pressing right now?
  • What issues in the world do they care most about addressing right now?
  • What’s their favorite social media channel?
  • Where do they get their news?
  • What other charities do they support?

How does this work?

Surveys facilitate your transition from “organization-centric” to “donor-centric” communications.

After surveying your supporters you’ll know what your donors want you to tell them (vs. what you want to tell them).This is a huge deal!

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.

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!

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.

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

You honestly can’t thank folks enough.

Your donors deserve it!

Call your donors and thank them for everything they have done to help the (children, students, elderly, poor, hungry, prisoners, sick, tress, rivers, etc). Thank them for their gifts, their advocacy and their ambassadorship.  Make them feel really good about their affiliation with you.

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

This is well worth your time and effort!

Plus it’s a great opportunity to connect, and get some feedback.

If folks are willing to chat, take this opportunity to learn a bit about how they got connected with you, and see if there are other ways they’d like to become involved.

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.

Don’t thank donors 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.

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?)
  • Mother’s/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.

Grab this New Bonus!

A colleague adapted this Email Checklist from some of my work.  I liked it so much, I asked if I could share it with you. Use it in good health.

And don’t forget to check your dashboard from time to time to see if new bonuses have been added.

Have a wonderful and successful month!