Tag: thank you

Keep thanking: How to keep donors using thank you cards, phone calls, and emails.

There is constant chatter on thanking donors on LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s the topic of amazing sessions at conferences. Around every corner is a reminder to thank our donors.

Here’s another one. Please remember to thank your donors.

Remember that to me, as a consultant and as a donor, the auto-email from an online donation doesn’t count as a thank you. That’s a receipt. I suggest you consider a more personal way to thank someone who has just given. I also would add that these suggested ways to thank donors work really well for any type of thanking, including, say receiving a check.

“A check?”, you ask. Many still donate this way, and a thank you upon receipt is a great way to express gratitude but also lets the donor know that you have received their donation.

Thank you notes are wonderful. Yes, there is a cost and time capacity for them, and I think the payoff is worth it. I have been surprised by how much I love receiving a thank you note. My all time favorite was from a board member I know who took the time to write the most gracious, kind note.

Phone calls are personal and super easy. I make thank you calls in between other work projects. I often suggest to clients that a great time to make a phone call to thank a donor is right after a program meeting one attended when so much of the mission’s impact has been talked about.

Email definitely works, and is the least personal of these. But it does work, and is definitely better than no thank you at all. Perhaps attach a photo or a report of some sort that exemplifies the impact of your mission so the donor gets a reminder of why they give in addition to the thank you. Some of my clients create a quick video thank you with their phone and add that to the email.

Thanking is not overated, and you can always make time to do it. It defnitely makes a difference as you build a life-long relationship with your donor.

Thanks for reading!

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!

Reignite your fundraising

I’ve presented conference sessions called “Reignite your fundraising” and love engaging with other fundraisers and development peers about my ideas regarding what we can do to take our fundraising to another level.

Before I begin it’s important to note that although the title of this post is about reigniting your fundraising, all of this starts with you. He’s a short story about what I mean by this, one from several years back:

I recently ran into a donor who was volunteering at our office. I shouldn’t say “ran into”, as I heard her voice and immediately got up and went to greet her. I was ecstatic to see her and thanked her for a recent generous donation. Of course that wasn’t the first time I thanked her as I called her the day of the donation and then sent a thank you letter. Nonetheless it was my excitement in seeing her that made her day.

“The person before you didn’t even know my name. Every time he saw me I had to re-introduce myself.”

Reigniting your fundraising will only work if you are on board, if you have endless energy and passion for your cause, and if you are willing to be the main cheerleader.

Let’s start.

My first idea is to respond to a donor email with a phone call. You will surprise them, and your relationship with them will be stronger. In other words, you are investing in the donor relationship. Building these relationships is key in reigniting your fundraising. Try it.

Speaking of the phone, I suggest getting used to using it. Email doesn’t show emotion. A donor can’t hear your excitement over email. So call them. Once you see their donation pick up the phone. It changes everything.

Another reason to use the phone more and email less is that, especially in huge cities like Los Angeles where I live, face to face meetings with donors don’t happen as often. The phone call brings at least a little bit of a personal touch to the relationship.

More to come.

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!

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!

Thanks for Giving Day!

Time flies, and here we are already in mid-November!

That means that Thanks for Giving Day is here! Thursday, November 19th, nonprofit board members and staff members will call donors to say one simple thing:

Thank you!

That’s it. It’s all about thanking the donor.

If you haven’t done a Thanks for Giving Day before, here is a quick list to help:

Ask board members to sign up to make calls/send emails.

Create a list of donors who have donated in the last year.

Create a quick script for board members.

Send each board member a list of donor names and contact information, along with the script.

And go!

Something that has helped me in the past is asking board members to send anything they learned about the donor during the call. Had they moved? Do they have a new email address?

Give it a try. Thanks for Giving Day is a great way to support you in building life-long relationships with your donors. It also a great way to get board members engaged with fundraising in a fun way.

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.

SIgn your thank you letter!

This will be quick. For many of us in nonprofit fundraising, making sure we personally sign our thank you letters is just part of our process. I should say making sure someone signs our thank you letters, as for some it’s not us.

There are many reasons for this. For me, the main one is that I want the donor to know that I actually know they donated. A close second is that I want them to know that it’s worth my time to sign the letter, and in most cases, write something as well, even if it’s just a redundant “thank you SO much!”.

Imagine my dismay when I receive a thank you letter from the CEO of an organization that we have been donating to for years, and their signature is printed as part of the letter! I was disappointed to say the least. Are they doing this for all of their donors? Do they even know that I donated? Does it matter to them?

Yes, we’re all busy. The way some speak they are busier than you and me, even thought we know that all of us are equally busy. Nonetheless, actions like this, simply signing your name, make a big difference.

Thanks for reading!

Time to reignite your fundraising?

I’ve presented conference sessions called “Reignite your fundraising” and love engaging with other fundraisers and development peers about my ideas regarding what we can do to take our fundraising to another level. Before I begin it’s important to note that although the title of this post if about reigniting your fundraising, all of this starts with you. I recently ran into a donor who was volunteering at our office. I shouldn’t say “ran into”, as I heard her voice and immediately got up and went to greet her. I was ecstatic to see her and thanked her for a recent generous donation. Of course that wasn’t the first time I thanked her as I called her the day of the donation and then sent a thank you letter. Nonetheless it was my excitement in seeing her that made her day. “The person before you didn’t even know my name. Every time he saw me I had to re-introduce myself.” Reigniting your fundraising will only work if you are on board, if you have endless energy and passion for your cause, and if you are willing to be the main cheerleader. Let’s start. My first idea is to respond to a donor email with a phone call. You will surprise them, and your relationship with them will be stronger. In other words, you are investing in the donor relationship. Building these relationships is key in reigniting your fundraising. Try it. Speaking of the phone, I suggest getting used to using it. Email doesn’t show emotion. A donor can’t hear your excitement over email. So call them. Once you see their donation pick up the phone. It changes everything. Another reason to use the phone more and email less is that, especially in huge cities like Los Angeles where I live, face to face meetings with donors don’t happen as often. The phone call brings at least a little bit of a personal touch to the relationship. More to come. Thanks for reading.

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