20 Ways to Be Donor-Centric
Today's donors are more demanding than ever. But they're really not demanding anything you don't already know how to give or do — or should already be giving or doing.
1. Receipt promptly
If your donors are waiting weeks or (heaven forbid) months for receipts, your message to them is loud and clear: Your gift doesn't matter. Aim for 24-hour turnaround, 48 hours at worst.
2. Receipt relevantly
We work so hard to motivate people to give. Sadly, it appears most of us fling out our thanks with little or no thought. The thank-you language of the receipt should close the loop. Use the same terms, specificity and emotional intensity you use when you ask.
3. Get the data right
Obsess over this. Don't spell names wrong. Don't have duplicate records. Above all, don't get the amounts or timing of gifts wrong. Good data is the key to raising more funds (knowing whom to ask and how much), not wasting money (knowing whom not to ask) and, most important, treating donors like they matter.
4. Let donors say where their money goes
Most nonprofits reserve the privilege of designating gifts for their top-most donors. Let every donor do that. Response usually jumps when you do. Whether it's making specific asks or offering choices, it's just common courtesy to give donors control over their generosity. Here's the secret: When you make "where most needed" an option, most donors choose it.
5. Give donors choices on use of their names
For many donors, the fact that charities "sell" or exchange their names is a sore point. If you do this, give your donors the chance to opt out. They'll appreciate it. (If you don't share names, let them know you don't.)