It’s easy to come up with ways to thank big donors (honor them at a gala, give them an award, name something after them), but what about your smaller donors?
It can be difficult for donor appreciation to seem authentic, personal, and meaningful when you have to thank small dollar donors on such a large scale.
Here are three ways to take your donor appreciation to the next level and show some extra love to your wonderful supporters:
Make every thank-you call count
Many organizations show their supporters appreciation with a thank-you call following a donation. It’s a tried-and-true method for reaching out, but donors can sometimes dread any phone calls, fearing they are solicitations, especially if they support multiple organizations.
One way to avoid this “donor phone fatigue” is to ensure that your calls leave a lasting, positive impression.
To do this, some nonprofits ask members of their boards to make these calls on their behalf. Easier said than done, right? If you can provide solutions to all possible barriers (concise call sheets + scripts, for example), you may be surprised to find your board members eager to get involved in the thank-you rather than the ask.
If your board isn’t available, think outside the box to find a unique source from which gratitude can be extended, like the parent of a child that can now take a music class, or the animal caretaker at a new wildlife sanctuary, all thanks to the generosity of your donors.
Thank-you calls like these will mean more to your supporters (and stick out in their memories) than those from your fundraising team.
Create a donor-centric culture
No surprise here: donors give more when they feel connected to an organization.
That said; make sure you’re not missing out on opportunities to weave your supporters into your organization’s culture. This can be as simple as asking for feedback on recent initiatives or campaigns in your newsletters. Your supporters will appreciate feeling as though their value to your organization is way more than monetary – show them!
Most importantly (and I can’t stress this enough), ask your donors for their stories. This is an integral part of fundraising that too many organizations overlook.
Not only do these stories help you during an ask (more on this next), their motivations to give are part of why your organization exists and are, therefore, your nonprofit’s story as well.
Take the time to really listen
The most important data about your donors can’t be quantified. Why supporters give (and keep giving) has a greater impact on your organization’s future than any amount of donated dollars.
So every time you hear the “why” behind a donation, make sure you’re really listening. Keep notes on interactions with donors where you’ve gained insight into their motivations.
The future success of your fundraising efforts could be determined by whether or not you remember + reference the “why.”
Are you dreading adding yet another column to the spreadsheet you use to track donations? You’re in luck – never before have nonprofits had such dynamic, integrated, and unified donor management platforms at their disposal. These tools enable organizations to not only track donations, but also help you nurture relationships with supporters as whole people with passion for your cause.
Even small donors deserve some extra love. Sometimes all it takes is a small personal touch to make your donor feel like their donation really made a difference.
This guest post was contributed by Marcella Vitulli. Marcella works at EveryAction making tools nonprofits love. She’s passionate about progressive causes + empowering organizations to do more good.