They Stuck by You — Now It's Time to Say 'Thanks'
The "recession that never ends" will celebrate its fourth birthday in December. Nonprofits have suffered, employees have felt their pain and donors have had to re-evaluate their priorities.
And some of those donors have stuck by you the entire time. They kept giving, even when their income was uncertain, shrinking or stagnant. They mailed in their checks despite runaway gas prices and soaring grocery prices. They clicked to give online despite being bombarded with bad news day after day.
It's time to tell them how much you appreciate them.
Oh sure, you've been sending them receipts, annual reports and newsletters. But let's be honest — these people have shown an extraordinary level of commitment to your organization. It would have been easy to stop giving; after all, no one would be surprised if a donor cut back. Any guilt could easily be dismissed given the barrage of economic maladies we've faced.
How can you send a very special "thank you" to these incredibly loyal donors? I'm not talking about an expensive premium; most of your donors sacrificed so you could carry out the mission that they believe in, not buy them a coffee cup or book. Instead, consider ways to show appreciation that will resonate with your supporters. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
A letter 'just because'
Send a personal letter (or better yet, have staff handwrite a short note) to anyone who has given at least once in the last three or four years. Acknowledge that the donors have been faithful givers and you are incredibly grateful. Don't bring up reminders of the recession or mention how hard you've been hit by declining income. Rather, in just a few short paragraphs, say thank you and tell your donors how much you appreciate them.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.