|Another Way To Say "Thank You"
... And to Get Additional Gifts
Marcia Scowcroft, VP, Fundraising Programs
All development professionals know the importance of promptly thanking donors for their recent gifts. But donors deserve and expect more from your organization. Thoughtful gestures are appreciated by most people (whether they are grandmothers or donors), because showing them you are thinking of them makes them feel special.
Because budgets are so tight, it is often difficult to justify spending precious capital just to do something nice for your donors. But what if you can do it without costing your organization a cent? In fact, not only will it be appreciated by your donors, it also will likely pay for itself many times over.
Consider this cost-effective idea on how to continue the dialog and solidify your relationship with your donors: a tax receipt mailed in January (or February) for contributions made the prior calendar year.
Why does this work so well?
First, it gives you the opportunity to say "thanks again" to your donors early in the year. This is particularly valuable for those organizations whose fiscal year does not coincide with the calendar year, and who are looking for a reason to reach out to donors in the post-holiday, non-traditional fundraising months.
Second, it provides a low key opportunity to document cumulative giving, something which donors may not be aware of that can be a powerful motivator for increasing giving.
Third, it is a very cost-effective opportunity for a gentle ask and a reminder to donors who may have overlooked their year-end giving. Several hospitals that did this last year saw a response rate between 7% and 9%, with a cost per dollar raised between $0.12 and $.26!
Things you should know: In order to do this effectively, you must be able to pull reliable cumulative giving data. Most of our clients choose to highlight unrestricted giving amounts only, excluding memorial, event, gifts-in-kind and other restricted gifts.
While we always stress that asking regularly is critical to the success of annual programs, we also believe it is important to inject variety into your communications. So, saying "thank you" again to your donors and making other thoughtful gestures are very effective ways your organization can demonstrate that you appreciate them...and they will appreciate you back in spades!
In our next issue, we'll talk more about what donors expect - and deserve - from you and how we can help you meet their expectations. Stay tuned.
To learn more about starting your own tax statement program contact me at 508-313-1056 or firstname.lastname@example.org.