You’ve been raising funds.
You’re organization is beginning to thrive.
You’re feeling good.
But what you may not realize is that there’s a fire licking at your heels. If you haven’t been properly thanking your donors, the bridge between you and them is about to become a raging inferno!
So, are you burning bridges with your donors?
This leads me to my real question: Why is gratitude so difficult?
Light ‘er Up
I’m working with a client on a feasibility study to find out if they are in a position to launch a capital campaign. Part of the process includes meeting with the organization’s best donors and closest supporters to find out how they feel about the organization and the idea of a campaign.
Unfortunately, although the donors love the organization, a recurring theme is that they haven’t been properly thanked or stewarded.
This is a common issue throughout many nonprofits, and certainly not an issue that’s unique to my client.
So whether you’ve meant to or not, you may have set the bridge between you and your donors ablaze. But it isn’t too late to put out that fire and rebuild.
Extinguish the Fire and Rebuild
Here are three simple steps to put out the fire and rebuild the bridge between you and your donors. In other words, effective donor stewardship.
1. Say thank you in person.
What is the giving threshold where donors are thanked, in person, at your organization? $100, $1,000, $10,000? You should be meeting with your top 10 (or more) donors annually at their home, office, or even at a restaurant to thank them.
It may not be possible to thank every donor in person, but do the best you can, and be sure to do so for your best donors.
2. Send a letter.
All donors, regardless of donation amount, should receive a thank you letter within one week of your organization receiving their gift. No exceptions.
Additionally, try send a follow-up letter in 6-12 months. Let donors know how their gift was used and how it made a difference to your organization.
3. Make a phone call.
It has been shown and documented that donors who receive thank you calls from board members make bigger gifts the next time around. This is also a great way to involve board members in the fundraising process. Making thank you calls is rewarding for both board members and donors.
More Ways to Rebuild
Just like in the real world, mending a damaged bridge takes time and persistence. But in most cases, it’s much easier to repair an existing bridge than to build a new one.
For more ways to thank your donors and strengthen your relationships, check out this post: Look What YOU Did! 5 Ways to Thank Your Donors
What do you do to thank your donors and strengthen your bridge?
What have you tried that has been successful?
Share your thoughts in the comments.