5 Ways to Report Back to Donors on Their Gifts' Impact
You know that if a donor gives a gift, your first job is to say thank you as quickly as possible. Amazingly, my colleagues in our industry, including Richard and myself, have written, conferenced and webinar'ed this subject to death — and it still hasn't sunk in.
But today, just for kicks, let's just say we've all got this down. A donor gives, and we're all over the thank-you. Good, you got it.
Now, almost as written about as "thanking the donor" is what you do next. That is, report back and tell the donor how her gift made a difference. I know for a fact our industry has been talking about this for more than 15 years. Just Google it, and you have enough content to never stop reading for a month.
Yet, when Richard and I talk about the donor life cycle with prospective clients, it's amazing how this still seems like a new concept for folks. Often, when I'm presenting this concept, I see a couple of folks across the table look at each other in that knowing way, thinking to themselves, "See, I've been saying this forever, and no one is listening."
Everyone agrees how important this is ... but rarely is it ever done right. Why? I think it's because of a couple of reasons.
- Human nature. We are a people that once we get the "sell" or the "win," i.e., gift, we tend to think about getting the next one from someone else. We like the new stuff.
- It's hard. Reporting back to donors takes a lot of work, money and time from multiple staff. So, because most nonprofits don't have a culture of philanthropy, they don't "spend" enough on the resources needed to adequately report back and tell donors how they helped change the world.
This is so shortsighted. If you read any surveys on why donors stop giving, not telling the donor how his gift made a difference is always the top reason. I don't know how else to get this point implanted in your brain and make this an absolute priority.
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.