Donor Recognition: 10 Ways to say ‘e2’80u157 Thank You’e2’80u157
Why is that 9 out of 10 times when we’e2’80’99re conducting a Feasibility Study or a Development Assessment and we ask the interviewee ‘e2’80’9chow important is donor recognition to you and how important do you think it is to others’e2’80uc0u157 they reply it’e2’80’99s not necessary for them but it’e2’80’99s critical for others.’e2’80u157 ‘c2 The truth is ‘e2’80’93 and the proof is ‘e2’80’93 recognizing individuals should be an active component of your fundraising program but it’e2’80’99s not always just about a plaque on a wall.’c2 Often, donors appreciate the simple acts of thoughtfulness, many which won’e2’80’99t cost the organization anything.\n\nRecognizing your donors is not only an effective way to let them know their support is appreciated, it’e2’80’99s a way to set an example for others. Think about the last time you went to a show where a program booklet was distributed ‘e2’80′a6 chances are you’e2’80’99re like most people and first looked for your name and then reviewed the other names, mentally checking-off in your mind who you knew and subconsciously reacting to their level of giving.’c2 If you found many of your peers in a higher category, you may increase your contribution next time you’e2’80’99re asked.’c2 For the person who didn’e2’80’99t contribute at all, your example may inspire them to participate the next time they’e2’80’99re solicited.\n\nHere are 10 ways to say ‘e2’80’9cthank you’e2’80u157 to your donors:\n\n1.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 Pick-up the phone:’c2 Before a thank you letter is sent, call the donor.’c2 For a major gift, it’e2’80’99s perfectly appropriate for the donor to hear from more than one person.’c2 For example, if a board member solicited the contribution, the board president and/or the executive director can call the donor to express gratitude.’c2 The solicitor can also call the donor the next day to say thank you again.\n\n2.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 Personalized Thank You Letters:’c2 Thank you letters should be mailed within one week of the contribution.’c2 Hand-written thank you notes demonstrate thoughtfulness.’c2 Again, more than 1 person can send a thank you letter.’c2 If it’e2’80’99s a type-written letter on the organization’e2’80’99s stationary, hand-writing a personal p.s. is a nice touch.’c2 Never send a return envelope with a thank you letter, unless of course the donor has requested it.’c2 Thank you letters should also be sent when a donor has paid a pledge.\n\n3.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 Regular Contact:’c2 Don’e2’80’99t wait until the next campaign to contact your donors.’c2 For major donors, personally invite them to a program your organization for a tour or to participate in a non-fundraising program. Volunteers and professionals can invite donors to lunch or breakfast just to discuss the latest and greatest at your organization.’c2 ‘c2 Sometimes just a phone call ‘e2’80’9cbecause I was thinking of you’e2’80u157 can be a great way to let your donors know they’e2’80’99re thought of more than just when it’e2’80’99s time to ask for money.\n\n4.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘e2’80’9cThank-a-thons’e2’80u157 :’c2 Many organizations have become expert in organizing phoning sessions for fundraising purposes.’c2 Using the same model, consider scheduling ‘e2’80’9cThank-a-thons’e2’80u157 when the only purpose of the call is to thank donors for their support. Calling donors merely to thank them is generally a welcome surprise.’c2 Your callers also will appreciate the change of pace ‘e2’80′a6 perhaps start a phoning session by calling your current donors or reserve 30 minutes on your next board meeting agenda to have your board members simply call people to thank them.’c2 In our world of sound-bytes, create a fast one-liner that highlights something happening at your organization and be sure to emphasize it’e2’80’99s ‘e2’80’9cthanks to your support.’e2’80u157 \n\n5.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 Dedications:’c2 Dedication plaques are a tried-and-true method of donor recognition.’c2 Donor walls can be so much more than just a list of names and actually they don’e2’80’99t need even to be plaques on walls.’c2 More and more organizations are creating a donor recognition piece that is also a piece of art, such as a wall of mosaic tiles or a free-standing sculpture.\n\n6.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 Connect with Everyone:’c2 Understandably, organizations often will focus their donor recognition efforts on their major supporters but all donors should be nurtured.’c2 While it doesn’e2’80’99t present as much opportunity for personalization, adding a donor to your mailing list or an e-mail distribution list can help you convey the donor is a ‘e2’80’9cStakeholder’e2’80u157 of your organization.\n\n7.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 Loyal Supporters:’c2 For organizations that conduct annual campaigns, take a look at the number of years a donor has been contributing to your annual appeal.’c2 We all know the stories of the ‘e2’80’9clittle old lady’e2’80u157 who contributed modest amounts of money in their lifetime but left significant bequests to their favorite organizations when they died.’c2 Consider launching a recognition program based on the number of years a donor has contributed to your organization.\n\n8.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 Public Recognition:’c2 Many organizations are very good about recognizing donors in their internal publications such as newsletters, but many miss the opportunity to thank the donor in a more public forum such as a major event or annual meeting.’c2 Major donors should be asked for their permission for your organization to send a press release to the local press.\n\n9.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 Gifts : Gifts can be an effective way to let a donor know you appreciate the support but caution should be taken because donors don’e2’80’99t want to feel as if you’e2’80’99re spending ‘e2’80’9ctheir money’e2’80u157 inappropriately. An effective way to demonstrate your commitment to the service the donor contributed to is for gifts to be underwritten through a specific contribution and for this to be made very clear for the donors receiving your gift.\n\n10.’c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 ‘c2 Be creative:’c2 Chances are your major donors are being cultivated by many other organizations for their support so consider unique ways of thanking your donors that will demonstrate you really care.’c2 A great example of a creative way to recognize a donor that didn’e2’80’99t cost the organization too much money is the college who saluted their major donor in the stands at a basketball game by having the players salute their benefactor at the beginning of a game by coming on to the court wearing his signature bow-tie.