Thumbs Up_BlogPeople relate to people. God made us to connect with each other. This became extremely clear as I chatted with a supporter over salads at a warmly decorated café. We discussed what my organization was achieving, and inadvertently, I kept expressing the organization’s name—as if the building achieved accomplishments. The supporter looked at me, knowing the hard work all of the staff provides and corrected me. She said, “I like you, not your organization.” This supporter loves the work that the organization provides. But in my excitement to share the facts, I neglected to realize that she relates to the organization in a personal way: donor to client, person to person, human to human.

Thank Donors Personally, Individually and Creatively

This story shows the extreme importance of thanking your supporters in as much of an individualized and personalized way as possible. Thanking someone in a day and age where it seems personal notes and a simple thank you call are things of the past, can set you (and your organization) apart and keep supporters engaged. Retention ranks high on the importance meter, and your thank you interactions can greatly increase retention outcomes.

Be personal and creative. I thanked a supporter with a hand written note and also put in a small article from the newspaper regarding their family. I shared a personal story relating to this article and within a month a written response and another check came—along with predicable annual giving in larger amounts. All this from taking a little more time to show appreciation.

I had another lapsed supporter on monthly giving for quite some time. Come to find out, she was ill. To save on expenses, I took the simple flower center piece from our event and delivered it to her. She was thrilled. The next year after our event, I took almost every center piece and delivered it to those I thought would best appreciate a visit and thank you in person. Wow, did the supporters love the gift, thought, and visit.

How Is This Possible?

I can already hear you say, “But Linda, we have hundreds or thousands of supporters that could be thanked. How do I have time to do all this?” Simple answer—make time. Prioritize the supporters that need a little more love. Supporters want to know you appreciate them and that you thought of them specifically, which in turn brings about loyalty.

To track how well this works simply go back in your donor base and look at your attrition rate. After you’ve spent time prioritizing and planning, then thanking kindly and creatively, measure how long it took to receive another gift. Then, ask yourself some questions:

· Did you keep or loose that donor?

· Did they contact you?

· Did they become more involved or volunteer?

Watch and see how your personal and heartfelt thank you gains devotion and reciprocal gratitude. If you would like to talk more about how to thank donors personally, individually and creatively, send me an email—I’d love to chat with you.