Lost: Donor Service. Reward If Found
It sometimes feels that treating donors as valued partners has been a victim of the recession. Instead of listening and helping, they (and their communications) can be viewed as interruptions to our day. It reminds me of the old "Peanuts" cartoon when Charlie Brown said, "I love mankind. It's people I can't stand."
Are some fundraisers "in love" with their donor bases but not all that fond of the individual donors? Maybe that explains some of the disservice I've seen lately.
Where's the receipt?
I know postage is 44 cents and nonprofits have to be wise stewards of their donated funds, but it seems the threshold for getting a receipt is moving ever higher. While a receipt isn't required for donations less than $250 (unless goods or services are provided; in that case, the threshold is $75), it's a great opportunity to thank a donor and encourage future giving.
Assuming a donor gives $25, you may spend almost that much following up with her over the next year or two. Spending a dollar today to mail a gratitude-laden receipt for that $25 gift, gently encouraging another gift, may help those future mailings receive better receptions.
Give them what they want — and maybe they'll give you what you want
When a donor calls with a request, take the time to help him. If you don't know the answer, tell him you will find it out — and then do so.
Don't simply direct a donor to your website. If that's where the answer is found (or if she wants help navigating your site), take the time to walk her through the menus so she ends up on the right page. Most nonprofits have a lot of information on their websites; the challenge sometimes is finding it.