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December 18, 2012
Donors are the lifeblood of fundraising organizations. And in the multi-faceted, donor-demanding world we live in, it is easy to see how a donor base can become fatigued. As a New Year’s resolution, why don’t you ensure your organization initiates donor appreciation by following these simple “do’s and don’ts”.
DO learn the art of “narrowcasting.” Show your organization’s smarts by strategically targeting those most likely to give instead of setting your sights on quantity over quality.
DO listen to your donors. Take their critiques seriously, acknowledge their wisdom and attention to your cause and demonstrate change based on their recommendations.
DO thank donors, early and often! It is human nature to yearn for appreciation for a job well done. Engender continued participation and warm feelings with simple heartfelt thanks, expressed in a timely manner.
DO give equal time (as hectic schedules permit) to small donors. A big pool of small donors is as invaluable as its opposite! Additionally, by cultivating small donors, you will migrate some into the bigger donor ranks.
DON’T burn out your volunteers. Volunteers keep your non-profit ship afloat and being tasked too often to do the same rote tasks can sour even the most devoted. Listen to them as well and incorporate their suggestions. Keep the tasks rotating so volunteers can experience each aspect of your organization and find something they can truly hang their hat on.
DON’T constantly ask for money. If you try going to the well too often, it will run dry. Contributors don't want to feel obligated ALL the time to find money.
DON’T make the mistake of not cultivating new donors — let people know your mission and always have an “elevator speech” prepared.
DON’T send form letters to big donors (sometimes with mass mailings a form letter is a must) but to your loyal enthusiasts, the personal touch is demanded!
Most importantly, keep striving for more dialogue with your donors. With the advent of social media, there are many platforms for two-way conversation but that is not carte blanche to forego the occasion for coffee or lunch!
Do you have any do’s and don’ts you’d like to share?