Fundraisers: Let's Get Hungry Again
The response to my offer last week to make a year-end donation to the organizations represented by the first 10 readers who wrote in and told me about their receipting (pros and cons) was overwhelming. The Barden household will be stretching its generosity next December to some very fine organizations since stopping at the first 10 seems harsh (but the offer is officially closed now).
The strategies for thanking donors — and as a result (hopefully) retaining more donors — varied. But one thing kept striking me as I read the emails, and that was "hunger." Often, the hungrier a fundraiser is, in terms of needing to acquire and retain donors, the more he or she is willing to do to when it comes to donor service. And that's not a function of being a small organization; rather, as I read the emails, I saw passion for the mission as the driving force — an insistence on always improving because it really does matter.
What’s being done right
Check out these strategies that are already happening at nonprofits staffed by readers of this column:
“We usually send out a thank-you letter within 48 hours of receiving the donation.” (This is a volunteer-run organization, which makes it even more impressive.)
“We truly believe in timely thank-yous. It is our aim to respond within 24 hours of receipt of a gift.” (Great idea to set the standard; without that, it’s tough to make it a priority.)
“We built into our schedule for resource development staff (to work) on Dec. 31 so that any transactions received from Dec. 24-Dec. 31 are input into our donation tracking software; acknowledgments are printed, signed and mailed; and items are deposited.” (Tough policy for staff, but the focus is definitely where it needs to be — on the donors.)