Keeping Donors In This Ever-Changing World

“I’ve donated to the same organization for fifteen years and now I’m getting thank you notes addressed to the ‘donor’ of the house. ‘Dear donor’ just doesn’t work for me!”

Technology allows us to do the whole process of thanking donors quickly. You get the form letter ready, merge the database, print the mailing label and run the closed envelope through the stamp meter. This happens so easily and quickly, anyone can do it.

Do you remember the days of five to seven days for a letter to be delivered? Now, we can deliver a message instantaneously. Email and text messages provide a new opportunity. A mobile system, which takes being remote and mobile to a new level.

A quick thank you message followed by something more lengthy is recommended. On donation forms collect:

  • Emails
  • Mobile phone numbers (include a box for the donor to check designating text messages as okay)

Develop a system for replying to donations. A quick email/text message looks like this: “Thank you for your donation to (organization). We appreciate your commitment to our program, which helps people (describe service). An official receipt will be sent to you over the next couple of weeks. Processing takes a bit more time on our end. Let me know if you have questions.”

The official receipt is sent to a donor along with a thank you letter, which nonprofits usually have as a template for anyone to use within the organization. It is important to write a personal note on the form letter but when this is not possible write a note card with your message and send it separately.

“I get a thank you letter for my donation and then the organization ignores me until they want my money again!”

Face it, nonprofits are usually so busy because they lack resources. Ignoring a donor is not something they do on purpose. It just happens when a hospitality program is not in place.

Hospitality, in some cultures, comes first and it truly is a benefit when a nonprofit adopts this culture. A volunteer initiative to provide hospitality to donors is not only fun for the volunteers but creates an atmosphere of family for the donor. People love their family! They are more understanding of their actions and stand beside them when the chips fall in a different direction.

A meaningful ‘thank you’ and developing a family culture are our two main recommendations for keeping donors in this ever-changing world.