While this post is likely too late to help you if you forgot Valentine’s Day, we encourage you to take a moment to look at how you’re showing appreciation for your organization’s special someone(s).
Like flowers or a nice dinner on Valentine’s Day, a prompt thank you letter and gift receipt are oftentimes only enough to keep you out of “the doghouse” with your donors, and those actions don’t distinguish your organization from the many others they may be supporting. It takes extra effort, and sometimes a surprising gesture, to really show your donors (or significant other) how much they are appreciated. Here are a few creative ways to go above and beyond when saying thank you:
- Video: Not surprisingly, visual images can convey much more than just words on a page. Consider a short thank you video that allows donors to see the difference their gift is making, and gives a face to the people their support is impacting. These short video messages can be embedded in emails and shared across social media, and are a great idea when wrapping up a capital or annual campaign.
- Board phone calls: We’ve all likely worked with board members who are reluctant to be involved with fundraising. Thank you calls can be a great way to engage those people, without having them actually ask for money! Set a date and time where a group of board members can come in and make calls to recent donors; not to ask for another gift, but simply to say thank you. Best of all, this approach produces results (see this month’s Shocking Statistic).
- Recruit beneficiaries: Instead of the typical thank you from the development or executive director, recruit volunteers who are benefiting from donor support to pen a short note on thank you letters. Although this approach may not be feasible for all organizations, it is a great way to foster a culture of philanthropy for groups where current beneficiaries are future donors.
- Donor spotlights: Oftentimes, especially in larger organizations, it’s easy for donors who make more modest gifts to feel like their contributions aren’t as important. Consider including profiles of long-time or younger donors in your newsletter and social media channels, showcasing their connection to an organization, and why they started to or have continued their support. Not only will the highlighted donor feel extra special, it communicates how much you recognize and appreciate all gifts.
Whatever combination of approaches you take, remember to have a measurable goal in mind. Do you want to increase retention of first time donors? Build your major gift pipeline? Establishing your goal will help you focus your effort, attention and approach.
Shocking Statistic: Donors who received a thank you call from a board member within 48 hours of making their gift gave an average of 39 percent more the next time they were solicited (Penelope Burk).
AMPERAGE Fundraising Advisers is a full-service fundraising company whose mission is to move the needle for our clients. For more information on Amperage Fundraising Advisers or to make a recommendation for a future blog post, contact us today!