Donors make a social investment to fund your cause. They have a stake in the outcome. Today I want to talk to you about showing donors the return on their investment.
In last week’s video, I talked about expressing gratitude and donor love. Today I want to take that sentiment to the next level.
It’s wonderful to tell donors how much you appreciate them and their contributions. It’s just as important to let them know how their donations were used.
Knowing what their donations accomplish will help them keep engaged and inform their future giving decisions. Although each donor may not have funded an entire program or service, they collectively contributed to your organization’s progress this year.
The best way to communicate with donors is the way they chose to communicate with you. If they gave through the mail, send them a letter; if they gave online, send an email; if you asked in person, tell them in person.
Here are three specific tips.
Use Success Stories
In order to communicate return on investment, you want to use stories to illustrate your work.
Feel free to sprinkle in a few facts or figures, but focus on telling the story of one individual you’ve helped.
When a problem feels overwhelming — like world hunger, or poverty — most donors can’t wrap their brains around the scope of the problem. They become “paralyzed” and won’t take action.
On the other hand, when you tell a story of one person, they will be moved to help, because that’s something they know they can do successfully.
You should also use video whenever possible. We’re living in a digital age. Use video to tell your story and thank your donors.
Video can be sent out in email or shown to donors at an in-person meeting. Video can help bring your story to life by showing the donors exactly who you’ve helped and how.
Have recipients of your programs and services say thank you directly to donors via video through testimonials and by saying, “thank you.”
Part of communicating return on investment is being honest. If you haven’t accomplished all you hoped, it’s okay to talk about setbacks with your donors. This will help them understand why this work is so challenging – and why you need even more funding.
The problems we work to solve are challenging. If they weren’t, we’d have solved them already.
Make sure you plan to thank your donors this year, but also tell them how their money was used. If you let them know you made good use of their funding, it’s more likely they’ll continue to give and support your organization into the future.
Have you told donors how their money was used? Tell me how they responded in the comments.