End of year, new year, clockBy this point in the calendar year, most non-profits are geared up with a flurry of fund-raising activities. Everything from Giving Tuesday, galas, silent auctions and fourth quarter letters make up the mix. Once the crystal ball drops in Time Square and the last trailing notes of Auld Lang Syne are sung, what’s a non-profit to do?

Thanking Your Donors

What’s the very first thing on your list? Warmly thanking the donors who supported you. Even the small gifts deserve some type of warm thank you. I recently read a radio group’s blog where the entire staff divides up the names of donors and calls them to say thank you, regardless of the gift size.

If phone calls are not a possibility, consider the option of staff (and even the board) hand writing one line thank you notes on the donor receipt. If you’re not comfortable writing on the receipt itself, use sticky notes. The bright colors draw attention to the hand-written thank you.

Reporting What the Gift Did

Once you have figured out how you can warmly and personally thank your donors, you can move on to step two. Reporting to your donors what their giving accomplished.

This could be a letter sent out at the beginning of January that spells out some (not all) of the good things that the donors’ gifts made possible. Many times the easiest way to do this is to give a bullet point list of what’s happened over the past year. Remember, it’s not about what your organization has done, but what the donor did through their gifts to your organization. The wording here is paramount.

Reporting isn’t just about numbers, facts and figures. It’s about telling stories. For example, you can say “your gifts relocated 253 Syrian refugee families like Yana’s. Yana’s family left everything, including her dad, to find safety in Rochester.”

Find ways to make the reporting about the people the donor helped. Numbers don’t move emotions, stories do. You want your donor to feel important to the work being done.

Tom Ahern, one of the big gurus of donor communications, says there are three steps to successful fundraising: Ask, Thank, Report. Then you repeat. It really is that simple.

So, now that you’re putting together your list of resolutions for the New Year, include thanking and reporting to your donor as your top priorities. You’ll be glad that you did!

Then request your free coaching call to talk more about how to engage your donors and move your ministry forward. Get your free coaching call here >>