With #GivingTuesday Behind Us Here’s What You Need to be Thinking About

Ahhhhh! Once again, it’s safe for us to open our mailboxes and email inboxes. The same is true for charity donors. Giving Tuesday 2019 is behind us.

Now what?

Well, over Thanksgiving weekend, I sent out a cartoon via Twitter that got me thinking. It also caused a reader and friend to suggest I blog about it. So, here it is, the cartoon and my post about what the cartoon suggests for us in our post-Giving-Tuesday professional lives.

In the cartoon, the child at the Thanksgiving table asks, “Why aren’t we this thankful every day?” It’s a great question for us to ask both our personal and professional selves.

As a fundraising professional, you should adopt a thankfulness, or gratitude, mindset. You’ll be happier and healthier as will the people around you. Let’s be thankful every day. Allow me illustrate what I mean.

How do you feel when you receive a phone call from a donor while you’re busy writing your next direct-mail appeal or preparing your development report for an upcoming board meeting? Are you annoyed that the donor has interrupted you with a silly question that she could have answered for herself by visiting your organization’s website? Or, are you grateful for the donor’s support and happy to provide direct service to her in a personal conversation that you didn’t even have to initiate?

That’s just one example. But, I think you understand my point.

When you and your organization truly appreciate your supporters, you’ll look for ways to thank them, show them gratitude, and engage them in meaningful ways as part of your normal routine. This is essential for all of the folks who support your organization; it’s especially true for the new donors you acquired on Giving Tuesday. If you want to retain more donors, upgrade the support of more donors, and receive more major and planned gifts, you need to show contributors the appreciation they deserve.

Henri Frederic Amiel, the 19th century philosopher and poet, once said:

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”

As a thankful fundraising professional, you will:

  • Provide a thank-you message to every donor.
  • Send a thank-you letter immediately, within days of receiving a gift.
  • Show supporters you care about them, not just their money.
  • Ensure that your communications are meaningful for your supporters.

As a general rule, you’ll want to look for ways to thank each donor seven times. For example, here are seven ideas for how you can thank a supporter:

  1. The donor gets a written thank-you letter from the development professional within two business days of a gift or gift commitment being received.
  2. The organization’s CEO or Board Chair sends a thank-you letter.
  3. A board member calls the donor within a week of receipt of the gift to express appreciation.
  4. The organization thanks donors by name, unless the gift was anonymous, in its newsletter.
  5. The organization thanks donors by name, unless the gift was anonymous, in its annual report.
  6. The donor is thanked with an invitation to a donor recognition event.
  7. The donor gets thanked at other types of events throughout the year.

In addition to thanking people for giving money, thank people for:

  • giving their time,
  • sharing their expertise,
  • demonstrating that they care,
  • making an inquiry,
  • attending an event or program,
  • referring others to the organization.

While sound stewardship involves properly thanking donors, it also includes showing gratitude by giving contributors information about how gifts are or will be used; in other words, tell them or show them the impact their gifts have had. You also need to honor the intention of donors by ensuring your organization uses their gifts how you told them they would be used. Furthermore, be sure to recognize donors in the ways you agreed to.

For more details about what I’ve touched on in this post, in addition to more valuable tips and insights about donor relations, be sure to check out the following posts:

Stewardship: More than a Thank-You

Avoid a Big Misstep Now to Raise More Money

Get More Repeat Gifts: The Rule of 7 Thank Yous

Can You Thank People Too Much?

Can a Thank-You Letter Contain an Ask?

What Can Your Nonprofit Learn from a Fortune Cookie?

What Can a Steakhouse Teach You about Fundraising?

In this post, I focused on thankfulness and gratitude. However, at the beginning, I also mentioned the importance of engagement. When you meaningfully engage supporters, you’ll ensure your nonprofit organization stands out from most charities. As a result, your fundraising effort will be far more successful than it otherwise would be. Because engagement is such an important part of a stellar fundraising process, I want to give the subject the attention it deserves. So, I’ll devote my entire next post to the topic.

For now, will you share some of the special ways you thank your organization’s donors?

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

4 Comments to “With #GivingTuesday Behind Us Here’s What You Need to be Thinking About”

  1. Michael,

    Great post. I’ve been taking my newsletter readers through a tour of the five i’s but skipped to impact in November because of Thanksgiving. I concur that we need to remember this principle year-round.

    Thankful for your all that you do to inform those who raise funds to change and save lives.

  2. Michael,
    I am glad you took my suggestion to heart and wrote this piece. You did an excellent job.
    As development professionals, we need to be grateful daily for those who share their time and treasure with our causes. While we need to communicate our gratitude more often, we really need to adopt that mindset into our personal and professional lives. I hope more will take this advice to heart.

    • Richard, thank you for your comment and for contacting me with the suggestion for this post. I the idea that we should be grateful every day is something that people can easily take for granted. However, it’s something we need to be reminded of and something that requires practice to master. Thanks again!

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