There Must Be 50 Ways …
7. Look for your trouble spots, and develop strategies to address them. For example, when are ongoing donors most likely to stop giving? At one organization we work with, it was after three years of giving, so we began a recognition program at that point and saw amazing improvement in retention.
8. If you rely on premiums for donations, think continuity. A desire to receive the entire series can encourage ongoing giving.
9. When donors call, start building a relationship by letting them tell you the reason they called before you ask them to verify your computer records. Especially if a donor calls in to vent, making him jump through your hoops first only adds to his frustration.
10. When you make a mistake that affects donors, the best strategy for dealing with it is to simply say, “I’m sorry.” For example, a nonprofit I support
double-charged a donation to my bank account; the woman I spoke to was so genuinely sorry I told her to keep the extra gift.
11. Get receipts out quickly — in days, not weeks. Donors want to be assured you received their gifts, you’re using them wisely and you’re grateful.
12. Write custom copy for first-time donors, special offers and major programs, if possible. “One size fits all” seldom works for T-shirts or receipt copy.
13. Don’t let donor remorse set in; include stories that show how effective you are in using donations.
14. Encourage repeat giving by enclosing an easy-to-use coupon and a return envelope. A three-part receipt — letter, receipt and return form — is a proven strategy for increasing additional gifts.
15. Maximize your First Class postage costs by adding inserts on giving opportunities, planned giving, special events, etc.
16. For gifts larger than a predetermined level, mail a very personal, closed-face letter one week after the receipt to reaffirm your gratitude. Don’t include any reply device. You’re strengthening the relationship; additional giving will follow.