Celebrate the Joy of Giving!
Relationships with amazing donors are so rewarding. They benefit your mission and they enrich our lives as fundraising professionals. I have learned and grown from each interaction and donor relationship.
Nurturing those relationships is fun—but can't be left to chance. It is an ongoing cycle of genuine activities to deepen a dialogue and express thanks. Here are 20 ideas of how to show your best friends just how important they are:
- Remember the donor's birthday or special occasion. This could include the delivery of a bouquet of balloons, cards made by children, or even bringing a group of staff and program participants to serenade the birthday person. You can even pick up the phone and make a good will call and gather a group of staff or members to sing happy birthday.
- Keep records of the person's hobbies and interests. When you see related articles or inexpensive gifts, send these along with a note.
- Call the donor to thank them and ask other staff and volunteers to do so.
- Send updates with photos particular to the project that the donor supported.
- Involve the donor—give him or her the opportunity to be a volunteer or board member.
- Ask for the donor's advice.
- Involve the donor in your strategic planning processes.
- Ask your donor to speak on behalf of the organization.
- Send the donor cards from those you serve.
- Ask the donor to speak at a staff meeting, board meeting or in a program area relating to an area of their expertise.
- Give the donor appropriate art work from participants in your programs.
- Recognize donors at board meetings.
- Put their name on your marquee and take a picture and send it to them with a note.
- Include donor recognition in your newsletters, annual report, website and on a display. This can also include a portable display taken to various events and activities.
- Hold special events for them.
- Extend special invitations for them to attend regularly scheduled functions of interest and significance.
- Send them a goody bag, flowers or a bouquet of balloons.
- Give them a T-shirt that says thank you.
- Take photos of donors at events and frame the photo.
- Present the donor with a small scrapbook with photos, etc., showing your organization's mission and the impact of their gift.
These are just 20 suggestions. I'd love to learn what has been special for your donors—please comment and share!
Develop a recognition policy—what you will do for donors and volunteers at various levels—this helps with both consistency and follow-through. It needs to match the culture of your organization and be appropriate to the donor. Make it systematic, and keep it fun. Celebrate the life-changing impact and the joy of giving!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.