Donors give to organizations because they resonate with the mission or because they truly want to make a difference, but do you know why donors stop giving? If a donor thinks they no longer matter to your organization, he or she will quickly realize that their gift likely doesn’t matter either. It’s crucial nonprofits don’t neglect donor follow-up.
The eight letters in “thank you” are indeed very powerful. Make sure your donors hear thanks early and often. Below we offer some great ways for you to make sure that your donors know how much they’re appreciated.
One of the biggest mistakes many nonprofits make is the failure to give campaign updates. The campaign is not over once you’ve raised the funds. In fact, it is just beginning. Send campaign updates to keep donors apprised of progress and to thank them for helping you reach your goal.
There are many ways to do these updates. Donors always appreciate a personal call, whether from you or a staff member. This shows you care enough about their participation to take the time to give them an update. You can also certainly plan an in-person update, but this usually only works well if your donors are all local.
Think about making a video shout-out to donors thanking them. If video is not your forte, take a group picture in which people are holding signs or letters that spell out “thank you.” Be creative and make it fun. This is a smart option, because you can not only use the video as a thank you, but you can also use it for website or social media engagement. Calls and phone calls are a great opportunity to involve board members in your donor retention, too.
When you are planning for your fundraising campaign, you likely think of every detail: donors you will reach out to, ways you’ll reach out, and many more details. Have you ever planned how you will thank donors? If that isn’t part of your master plan, it should be. Create materials specifically for saying thank you and for keeping donors updated on your progress.
Many organizations plan these photos and videos as marketing collateral pieces, and continue to use them throughout the year in websites, social media and publications to promote the organization’s mission. These are also great tools for donor retention.
When you are formulating your plan, be sure to include the two ways of saying thank you that donors appreciate the most. First, donors love testimonials. Share a testimonial from your staff or from one of the people who are benefiting from the donation. Nothing says thank you more than a donor hearing how their money is directly making an impact.
Second, never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank-you note. In our digital age of email and texting, handwritten notes are becoming a lost art form. Anyone can rattle off a quick email, but sending a handwritten note definitely tells donors that you care and have taken the time to write a personal note.
None of these ways of saying thank you are particularly difficult. All just require a little time and attention. The effort you put in is definitely worth it. Donors need to feel engaged and happy, and after all, happy people tend to give more – of both their time and their money. Make sure you communicate with donors in a variety of ways, and that all of your communications with them don’t involve asking for money. Most of all, make sure they know you couldn’t do it without them!
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