Don’t Just Thank Them
I’ve said some irreverent things about thanking donors in the past few weeks.
So I had mixed feelings about this recent post by Katya Andresen.
I agree with her main point 1000%: “The single most powerful thing you can do as a fundraiser is to take great care of the donors you have.”
Amen … Amen … Amen!
However Katya then focused almost exclusively on the ‘thank you’ process, providing an excellent checklist on what makes for effective thank you’s.
But to me, ‘caring’ for donors involves a whole lot more than thanking them after the fact. Indeed, your pre-gift behaviour might be even more important … definitely more important than any boilerplate “good manners require a thank you, so here’s yours” wasted effort.
Katya does touch upon some of the other ingredients of “caring” for donors when she talks about ongoing communications. She mentions:
- Regular reporting to donors on their impact (even better if you can wrap a story around your report);
- Asking donors for feedback (asking for feedback on something specific and meaningful is far better than a tossed off “we welcome your feedback’); and,
- Including donor voices (which signals that you indeed listen to donors and appreciate what they have to say, not just what they give).
I’d add one more, respecting what your donors have already told you — from correct spellings and addresses to contact preferences and programmatic interests.
True donor appreciation begins well before the thank you.