Friday, January 24, 2014

Shower Your Donors With Love

Valentine's Day will be here soon, and what a perfect time to thank your donors and show how much you appreciate their support.

Fundraising expert Pamela Grow recommends a minimum of 12 touches a year (you should aim for more). If you haven't shown gratitude since you sent your year-end thank you letters, you need to do that soon. You did send thank you letters after your year-end appeal, didn't you?

Whether you want to send something out on Valentine's Day is up to you. But do something fun and creative to show appreciation in February. The holidays are over, and there's still a lot of winter left for many of us to endure.

Here are some ideas.

Create thank you photo
A great photo can capture your donor's attention in an instant. Here are a few examples of thank you photos.

Network for Good Thank You Photo

Along with your photo, include a brief thank you message. You can send this via email and post it on your homepage and on social media.

Share an update or success story
In addition to saying thank you, share a brief update or success story. Emphasize how you couldn't have helped someone without the donor's support. If you included some 2014 goals in your year-end appeal, sharing regular updates of your accomplishments is a great way to engage.

Send a card
Handwritten notes mean the world to donors. You may not have the budget to send cards to all of them. If not, send them to your most valuable donors. These may not be the ones who give you the most money. Do you have donors who have supported your organization for more than three years? How about more than five years? With retention rates continuing to plunge, you don't want to lose these valuable donors.

Overall, I think nonprofit organizations can do a better job of thanking their donors. Here a couple of ways to do that.

Make your messages personal
Be personal and conversational when you thank your donors. Don't use jargon or other language they won't understand. Write from the heart, but don't be overly sentimental. Give specific examples of how your donors are helping you make a difference.

Make an investment to thank your donors
If your budget doesn't allow you to mail handwritten cards, is there a way you can change that? You may be able to get a print shop to donate cards. You can also look for additional sources of unrestricted funding to cover cards and postage.

Maybe you need a change of culture. Getting your board, all staff, and volunteers involved in thanking your donors will make a huge difference.

Keep it up
Keep thinking of ways to thank your donors! You can't say thank you enough. Do it at least once a month.

At certain times of the year, like Valentine's Day or Thanksgiving, people expect to receive messages of gratitude, but imagine how surprised your donors might be if they receive something in May or August?

How are you thanking your donors?

Photo by Enchant_me via Flickr

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