Acknowledgment Equals Power
Donors give because they want to give, want to help your mission, not because they want some grand award or a parade thrown in their honor for their good deeds. However, donors are human, just like the people your organization helps. And people have the need to feel appreciated. That's why acknowledging your donors — thanking them for their generous gifts and support — is so important. If donors don't feel appreciated, they may get turned off and lend their support to another worthy cause.
It's clear acknowledging donors is a must, yet many fundraisers don't always make it a priority. On his Future Fundraising Now blog, Jeff Brooks touched on this subject in a recent post, listing three acknowledgment practices that spell doom for donor relationships:
- Taking a long time to acknowledge a gift. When weeks or months go by before a donor gets acknowledged for a gift, the suspicion grows that her gift wasn't appreciated or didn't matter.
- Acknowledging in a generic way. The ask was clear and strong, specific and full of emotion. The acknowledgment has the warmth and humanity of a tax form from a totalitarian nation. The message is clear: We got your dough; that's all that matters.
- Failing to adequately report back on the impact of the gift. If you're putting donor dollars to good use, let the donors know. Don't hammer them with all the other things you do that they didn't give to — thank them for what they did. Show them they made a difference. That gives them reason to give again.
Don't take your donors for granted and just assume they'll always give because they've given in past. Acknowledge their gifts, their support, their valuable contributions to your organization and your work in a timely, heartfelt fashion to help build and keep long-term donor relationships.