Welcome to 2016!

In the lead up to the New Year, did you see your inbox piling up with end-of-year asks? I sure did.

IMG_3030In those last days of the year, there was quite a bit of chatter on Twitter about that. But this tweet from The Whiny Donor struck my heart… “Sometimes we give in spite of the stewardship.”

Wow. So many fundraisers – or their colleagues – spent lots of time crafting “don’t-forget-us” or “please-give-right-now” year-end emails. Somehow, the same diligence doesn’t seem to apply to thanking quickly or with heart. Why?

As fundraisers, we all know that better thanking – prompt, heartfelt, sharing impact – leads to a stronger connection between a donor and the charity.

So why are there still so many courses and books and blog posts and conference sessions about thanking donors, crafting better donor stewardship, and reporting back to donors? Because thank yous still aren’t happening. (Check out this post by Lynne Wester about her Giving Tuesday experiences with gifts, thanks, and resolicitations.)

Don’t expect your donors to give in spite of the stewardship your nonprofit offers.

Thank you letter creation can end up being a process. Don’t let it.Instead, make 2016 the year you lead with gratitude… and here’s how.

  1. Give thanking the priority it deserves! If you manage gift processing and thank you or receipt production, ensure as many hands are involved in creating heart-felt, donor-centered thank yous. Block off calendar time to ensure the person or people who sign make it a priority. Remember, your donor sat down with excitement and a desire to change the world she made her gift. Capture that great feeling and reflect it back with prompt and authentic thanks.
  2. If you can’t control how and when thank you letters are produced, simply step up and quickly say thanks right away. Pick up the phone and offer a quick thank you. Or handwrite a note to show you took the time. Or send an email – let the donor know that you have the gift and are ready to get it work making the world a better place. Just do it!
  3. Get your board involved. Board calls are very effective with donors.
  4. Jump in with both feet on January 4. If your charity was closed between December 25 and January 4, see if you can look at gifts that came in through the mail or see a report of what came in online. Do any names leap out at you that you can thank? If so, you’ll be able to start 2016 with a heap of thanks.
  5. Need more ideas? Read my post on great stewardship.  Or see how Mary Cahalane curated the nonprofit blog carnival on thanks. If you need the basics, check out this from Lisa Sargent.

Thanking a donor and letting him know how you used his gift is the best part of working with donors. You can make it feel even better than giving the initial gift!

Yes! I want joy sailing through my inbox!

Open a package of smarts and joy! Every fortnight, find strategies, tips + inspiration to:

  • Accomplish anything with grit, grace + gratitude.
  • Navigate a successful career + balance your personal life.
  • Create deeper relationships between supporters + your nonprofit.
  • Understand how to work with high net-worth supporters.

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