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Thanking donors

When boards and non-profit leadership talk about fundraising, individual donors are typically, and easily, talked around or even not thought about. Meanwhile, so many of us have donor retention rates under 40% and direct mail response rates are under three percent. I can see why many in our world don’t see the intense value of individual donors, or even think that there is a way to increase the amount of individual giving for their non-profit.

Although I subscribe to the philosophy of donor-centered giving, I’m not even writing about that. I think many non-profits have a lot of work to do even before they start working within the ideas of being donor-centered.

Here’s an example. A few months ago I attended a luncheon that was a fundraiser for a popular LA-based non-profit. It was my first time attending one of the events and I was blown away by what they presented, so much so that I made a donation.

First donation to them ever. I felt so good about being part of their incredible impact.

Time when by and one day we received their newsletter. It reminded me that I hadn’t received a thank you letter or a tax letter yet. 

More time went by, and six weeks after I made the donation I received my thank you/tax letter.

Six weeks! Seriously? I couldn’t believe it.

Even though I am now on their mailing list, I don’t feel any more a part of them as I did before I made the donation.

I like what we do at the non-profit I fundraise for. Once we see a donation we call the donor to thank them. This happens within 24 hours of receiving the donation. Then a thank-you letter goes out within three days. Three days is the absolute latest it will go out, that’s our goal. It doesn’t mean that we don’t do all we can to get the letter out earlier.

Individual giving can change your mission and impact. It’s much more sustainable than corporate giving and even foundation giving. Growing your donor relationships will be totally worth your while. You can start by thanking them.

Thanks for reading.

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