March 3, 2014
With the gift agreement signed and the asset transfer completed, the final step in any gift conversation is thanking, recognizing and stewarding donors. But how often should you communicate with donors? If you do so too often, a donor could tune out the noise that comes across as static. If your communications are too infrequent, donors may not hear the harmony of the sounds that could lead to their full commitment,. Over the course of a year, seven touches have proven to be both efficient and effective in delivering a clear message that matches the tone that is sweet music to a donor’s ear. These seven distinct moves offer seven opportunities for donors to understand that they are important to the charity. The seven messages are singular, but when positioned together, they work toward a complete concept of reminding donors why they are giving and what their support is accomplishing.
1. Prompt thank-you letters. Consistent thank-you letters should be sent within 48 hours of receiving a gift. A tiered recognition plan that involved multiple thank-yous as giving levels increase will offer the greatest impact to position repeated giving. Remember that first-time donors deserve the same level of thanks as your loyal and largest donors do to ensure they become repeat donors.
2. Impact reports. Donors are inspired by the result of their giving. Positive outcomes that are direct result from their support of a program will motivate them again.
3. Annual report. Just like a program report that shares how donors support led to success for an aspect of the organizational mission, an informative annual report that depicts the overall picture of a charity will build trust in its ability to efficiently reach and surpass goals. Similarly, transparency and accountability lead to donor loyalty as they continue to become engaged in mission delivery.
4. Volunteer recognition cards. Sent in April during Volunteer Recognition Month, it highlights the your charity’s appreciation of its donors’ active involvement in the mission of your organization. Whether they are board members, committee members or other volunteers, committed donors appreciate recognition.
5. Birthday cards. Sent out the first week of each month (or three days prior to the donors birthday), if possible) a birthday greeting says that your organization is paying attention to donors in a very personal way.
6. Thanksgiving or National Philanthropy Day cards. At a time of year for expressing thanks, thanking your donors should be a priority.
7. Personal Phone calls. Make personal phone calls in early December to wish donors “Happy Holidays”
Article from Advanced Philanthropy www.afpnet.org/Winter 2014