December 8, 2017 Douglas Shaw & Associates

If you could see your year-end fundraising future, what would it look like?

Perhaps a group of very excited, yet slightly exhausted, fundraising staff all slapping high-fives and celebrating the results of a successful year-end campaign.

Whatever your fundraising future may look like, we want to provide you with some prudent advice. Do not forget about your donors.

This collection of wonderful people is the one that got you (hopefully) to the high-fives, and even if you fell short, they’re not only owed a nice thank-you, they expect it.

Good stewardship of your donors does not stop once they’ve made their year-end donation. That would be like pursuing someone you like, finally getting a phone number, and then never bothering to call. If you want the relationship to continue, the ball is in your court.

The same is true for fundraising. Once the donation is received, your next move can make or break the relationship. And if you haven’t thought about how you’re going to thank your year-end donors, don’t worry, it’s not too late.

The best advice we can give is for you to test your receipting and thank-you process. Seriously, make a donation to your organization so you can personally experience how your donors are thanked.

Start by keeping track of the time between your donation and the arrival of the thank-you letter. If it’s longer than two days then you have work to do. Also, dig into the cost of sending the letters.

Once received, here’s a good question to ask: Did you feel special when you received the thank-you letter? If not, then you can bet your donors are feeling pretty unloved too. Writing these letters should be an important part of your copywriting process, so invest in it.

We hope your end-of-year fundraising is wildly successful, but remember, the donor didn’t have to send you that gift. They could have given it to someone else, but they chose you. So be sure to thank them in a way that makes them want to come back for more.

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Comment (1)

  1. Larry Correa

    I have always asked that the creative team create the generic thank you letter when designing the package. That way unless otherwise flagged, the thank you letter could be generated during the receipting process

    Cuts time of response, generates additional income for the organization and provides immediate positive feedback to the donor

    Receipts over a given amount were routed directly to the major gifts department for personal response

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