Fundraisers: Let's Get Hungry Again
“My goal for this year is to send a second thank-you from the president for any first-time donor, at any level.” (With new donor retention at crisis level, this is terrific.)
“I will look at all our standard thank-you letters to see if we need to update them or perhaps make them more personal.” (Excellent! Someone else wrote that at the beginning of 2015, the organization “retooled the language in our donor acknowledgments to reflect less of a ‘look at us’ stance, but a ‘thank you, you're valuable!’ stance” — time well spent, I think.)
And in the same vein, “We’re hiring a part-time donor services assistant to make sure we get our turnaround for acknowledgment letters much closer to 48 hours. Also, we will no longer send full-page letters full of language no one will read! I’ve rewritten them to be … focused on the donor.” (I love it!)
“This year I am committed to receipts, personal thank-you notes from either me or my board president, as well as an additional recognition in a holiday card, recapping what their donations enabled us to achieve.” (That’s a great example of relationship-building.)
So what next?
This old dog knows that reality can sometimes interfere with the best intentions, and that fundraisers need support from the rest of the team (especially leadership) to make changes that involve staffing or other costs. But here’s something to think about: If you spend 1 percent more to thank donors, do you believe you can recoup that with additional giving from now-happier donors? Will it pay back fivefold? Tenfold? Make a best-guess estimate of the value of the change; focusing on how much more money you can raise can justify the added cost or work.
The sad truth is, as one reader wrote to me, “Sometimes, the intention is there, but the reality doesn’t match the desire. And sometimes the urgency just isn’t there.”