Tag: gratitude

An unforgettable thank you

Thinking about my experiences of how my organization has thanked donors, or how organizations I support have thanked me, there is an unforgettable experience that is at the top of the list.

I had made an ask of a donor who had not donated in three years. They hadn’t responded to anything I had sent. Add to this that they had donated before my time with the organization and didn’t know me.

One day I was making a call and the donor accidentally picked up the phone. They were in a rush to get out of the house with the kids, and could not speak. I asked if I could email them what I was going to speak about, and they said yes!

I emailed the ask. They had a couple of questions which I responded to quickly and soon they decided to give again. They doubled the size of their already large first gift. What a wonderful experience.

I asked my board chair to call them to thank them. This was a common occurence for me and them, so my board chair knew what to do and made the call.

The donor answered!

Immediately after the call, the donor called ME!

They said they had given hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past many years, to several organizations, and had never received a thank you call from a board chair. This of course made my heart swell, mainly because they were taking the time to thank me, and share how they felt about an action that was common place for our fundraising team.

I left that organization to create Altrui, and am ecstatic that that donor continues to generously give.

A simple thank you can catapult your relationships with your donor.

Thanks for reading!

Keep thanking

The photo is of a thank you card for donors.

It’s already mid-December. You’re watching donations come in supporting your appeals, attending holiday gatherings, and trying to get in front of as many donors as possible for that ever-valued year-end donation.

With everything that is going on, keep thanking your donors. Keep the calls up, keep the impact stories going, and keep making sure that your donors know what it means for them to donate.

That their donation changes the world. For someone. Or something.

As my family makes donations this month I’m unfortunately surprised by how many organizations, especially the ones we have donated to for many years, don’t take the time to just say thank you.

I get it. They are busy. There’s a lot going on. And at the same time the proof is in the pudding: when we thank donors right away, let them know how we spent their donation, and then how that donation impacted our mission, we have a huge chance that the donor will donate again.

And our life-long relationship begins (or continues!).

Some of my clients have a couple of people on staff who make calls, others engage their volunteers (Including board) to help with the expressions of gratitude. You don’t need to do this alone. Ask for help if needed.

The time you spend doing this is definitely worth it, and will make a difference.

Thank you for reading!

Thank you for two years of Altrui!

Today I am celebrating two years of Altrui Consulting and am filled with gratitude!

Two years ago I left the job I thought I would retire from, created a website that included a few thoughts on how I might be able to help nonprofits with relationship building and fundraising, and Altrui was born.

Although I had been in the nonprofit fundraising world for many years, the worlds of consulting and running my own business were all new to me. There is a long list of lessons over the past two years, and every day I learn something.

It’s been a magical road. I have loved every minute of it. While Altrui I have grown, we’ve been honored to work with nonprofits that are making the world a better, safer place. Their impact inspires me every day, and I am lucky to be a part of their work.

My thank-you list is extensive. If you have supported me in any way, thank you. That means a kind word, a warm welcome, sharing your experience, listening, a retweet, a kind comment on LinkedIn, or if you are one of hundreds whom I have learned from. I am forever grateful for that and happy to have you in my life.

I am ecstatic to see what year three brings!

Thank you all!

Lessons learned from Altrui

I’m in my 21st month of Altrui Consulting and while I’m having the time of my life, I still get surprised by how many lessons I learn each day. Some of these come from my amazing clients, others from my super supportive peers, and still others by those of you who are kind enough to share your experiences on social media and teach people like me.

This past week I was reminded once again by how much I have to learn as a consultant, and thought it was a good time to share some lessons learned so far.

First, I’ve learned to slow down. To take it easy. Take it day by day. Focusing on what I have in front of me right this moment is super helpful.

Another big thing for me to learn has been around business housekeeping. I talk about this often and it’s super important. I have been in nonprofit fundraising for a long time, and I have a comfort zone with sharing my experiences and knowledge when it comes to fundraising and relationship building. At the same time I had never been a consultant or run my own business. Lots of learning curves! Keeping up with business work is crucial, and I have learned to take a few hours one day a week to solely focus on Quickbooks, invoices, vendor check-ins and marketing.

Next has to be communication. Clear, continuous communication. In my nonprofit career, I spent a lot of time with my team and peers. Lots of meetings and many discussions on whatever we were working on. This type of work is different. Sometimes there is only one conversation to plan the work and contract and then another to kick it off. Expectations, concerns, end-game wishes have to be clear to everyone involved. There has to be trust that you are listening, understanding, and fully focused on not only the work but them. This is something that is on the top of my mind with every client interaction.

Lists. I wasn’t a big list person before creating Altrui. I know. How did I survive? That has all changed now. I plan my weeks in advance and each day have my list of what client work I need to accomplish that day. Lists are incredibly helpful and I’m not sure why I wasn’t on the list band wagon before Altrui.

Build relationships. I learn more about this every day, even though it’s a huge part of what I offer to clients. Keep engaging. Keep listening. Pay attention all of the time.

Lastly, for now, I’ve learned to express gratitude even more. Gratitude is a big deal when you work for yourself and you run your own business. It’s important to share all of the gratitude that begins to fill you up. Let clients, vendors, peers and everyone else you learn from know how grateful you are for them.

Thank you for reading! Questions? Email me at dan@altrui.org

An attitude of gratitude

In the last year or so I have changed how I talk about thanking donors, from a process of thanking them to a whole strategy around expressing gratitude. An attitude of gratitude is part of this.

For those who read my blog regularly (well first, thank you!), you may be inclined to say something like “yes Dan, we get it, we’re thanking our donors”. I commend you. To everyone out there thanking quickly and thanking personally and not relying on auto-thank yous, rock on.

Expressing gratitude and having an attitude of gratitude is more than one thought. For me it means that there is a collective thought and action pattern of ensuring that your donors knows that their support of your mission is known, appreciated, and that it has impact.

It does not mean that the donor is a savior, that they are always right or that they know how to better serve those you serve than your team does. It simply means that for every donation received, the person on the other end of that donation feels the gratitude for the donation and knows its’ significance.

When a donor receives a personal thank you quickly, and knows how you have spent their donation along with the impact of their donation, your relationship with them grows.

An attitude of gratitude.

Thank you for reading!

Action 2: Express gratitude

Make sure everyone who supports you, in whatever way, knows how grateful you are for that support. This is our second action to take in building stronger relationships with donors or customers.

Gratitude can be expressed in many ways. An instant email after a donation or sale does not count. A quick check in upon leaving your restaurant or their volunteering at your nonprofit do count. Knowledge of your gratitude goes a long way.

In the world of nonprofit fundraising some of my best practices include a thank you call as quickly as possible after the donation has been received. This delights the donor, and instantly strengthens the relationship between donor and nonprofit.

Another way to express gratitude is to let the donor know how their donation was spent. Donors love to know their impact, and a quick note from someone at the nonprofit letting them know of their impact goes a long way. Remember that we are talking about building a lifelong relationship with the donor.

An example of gratitude expressed I love sharing was an experience at a restaurant when a manager swung by our table to thank us for supporting them. This is a place we have continued to order from since the start of the pandemic, and the manager thanked us for all of that and let us know what that meant to them.

You don’t need a budget line item to express gratitude. It doesn’t have to cost you financially. And it definitely pays off.

Thanks for reading.

Building relationships

As I celebrate one year of Altrui Consulting, I have had many reminders about the work we do and why I believe it’s so important. Our biggest successes in the last year have been working with nonprofits to support them in building stronger, lifelong relationships with donors and stakeholders, and working with small businesses to do the same with customers and clients.

The common denominator with nonprofits and small businesses is that in many cases leadership/the leader are overwhelmed, feeling like they do not have the time, capacity or funds to grow or sustain their mission or business.

Even in the midst of a changing world and difficult times for many, there have been ways for nonprofits and small businesses to survive and thrive. I’m excited to have been part of that for many, and as one who is “always learning” am grateful to be working with so many passionate people that are making a difference in this world.

As I look back through the first year, here are some actions I have suggested organizations taking that are working for them:

Strengthen your social media. Make it so you can communicate quickly and effectively with donors, stakeholders, customers and/or clients. If you have five platforms but are honestly only working one, get rid of the rest and focus solely on that one. Communication with those who support you is critical.

Make sure everyone who supports you, in whatever way, knows how grateful you are for that support. An instant email after a donation or sale does not count. A quick check in upon leaving your restaurant or their volunteering at your nonprofit do count. Knowledge of your gratitude goes a long way.

A few months into COVID, one of the small, local businesses we support posted on their Facebook page that thanks to all of their customers, they had been able to keep 80% of their staff on payroll. We gave them more business the next day. Share important and impactful stories with your customers and donors. It will make differences beyond your wildest dreams.

Lastly, and equally important as the other three, take a breathe. Breathe. Relax. Trust those you hired. Confide in your closest confidants. If you are not fine when someone you trust asks you, don’t tell them you’re fine. We can’t do all of this by ourselves. And we don’t have to.

Thank you for reading.

With deep gratitude

This post is all about gratitude. A huge thank you to so many who have supported me and the growth of Altrui. March is my sixth month in business and a good time to say thank you.

Thank you for being by my side. For continually reminding me that I got this, and that I can rock this.

Thank you to all of my peers in consulting who have taking time out of your busy schedules to answer my questions and give me direction.

Thank you to all of those accountants on social media who have gently educated me on what I need to be doing in regards to my accounting. Because of you I have an accountant and a QuickBooks account!

Thank you to all of my fellow nonprofit fundraising professionals who have so much experience in the consulting side of this and have constantly reached out to offer support.

Huge thanks to all of you who have recommended me and Altrui! Because of you I am working with more clients that I expected I would be with such a short time in the business.

Thank you to all of my clients! You have entrusted your fundraising to me and I will never forget that. I am forever grateful.

And thank you to everyone who has connected with my on social media. Altrui is new on Instagram and Facebook, and having support on these platforms as I grow is super helpful.

Sending big love and gratitude.

Thanks for reading!

5 steps to take to rock Thanks for Giving Day

Thanks for Giving Day will be here before you know it. Although some nonprofits do this type of thanking day earlier in the year, I have done Thanks for Giving Day the Thursday before Thanksgiving Day (in the US) and this year it’s November 21st.

That means you have a little time to plan. Remember, if you need help, we’re here! And for those of you new to TFGD, here are five steps to take to ensure your event is meaningful:

  1. Send a save the date to all of your board members asking them to take a shift for calls. I have done 4pm – 8pm and asked board members to sign up for a two-hour shift. Let them know how important this day is and what it will mean for donors, and let them know that all you are doing is thanking people.
  2. Have lists of all donors who have given this year, with their phone number. Do not list their donation amount.
  3. Plan a dinner buffet. I have used Chipotle. Also, if you are ok with having alcoholic beverages, ask board members to bring wine and beer.
  4. Make sure you have work spaces for the board members, complete with a phone. This could be desks throughout your agency or one table with several phones. I like board members to call from the agency as then your agency name pops up for caller ID.
  5. Create a social media plan to promote TFGD the week of and to do some live posts while board members are calling donors.

There is more to do, and this list covers the basics. Any questions, email us at helloaltrui@gmail.com.

If you let us know you are doing Thanks for Giving Day, we will share that information on social media.

Thanks for reading!


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