Thanking Donors? Follow your Mother’s Advice!

By: Kasey Patton

In the world of fundraising, donors have come to expect a level of well-deserved care and attention.

1Over the last 5 years, I have worked with all kinds of donors from the smaller level donor who is raising funds with their home-made bake sale, to major donors who are giving small fortunes to your association or non-profit. In both cases your donors are giving to you in hopes of making the world a better place by helping your association achieve its goals.

Non-Profits are varied and their goals and donors vastly different. After working in fundraising and marketing for companies such as 2PBS, American Cancer Society, The Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology and more I have found that there are several key things you can always do to impress your donors and make them feel special in a way that will keep them loyal and dedicated to your cause… and all of these things I learned from my Mother!

To make sure your donors know you care, I have 3 tips straight from Mom to help you build that special relationship-

1) “Write a handwritten thank you note.” – Your non-profit may already send a stock thank you letter or email. Make sure this isn’t the only thing you do. Writing a note yourself shows special attention and gives a personal touch that does not go unnoticed.

2) “Be prompt.”- Sending recognition in a timely matter shows that they have made a critical impact. This is important because it helps a donor feel like their contribution is directly and immediately felt. If you can, try to get a note to them in two weeks or less.

3) “Make it personal.” – Sending thank you notes is somewhat of an art form. But a thank you note that really hits home is one that includes something personal about the donor.3

“I loved hearing about your passion for cooking when we spoke at the gala. We are so grateful to have spirited and creative people like you to help us find new ways to reach our goals”

“Thank you not only for your contribution, but also for the innovative ideas you pitched at the board meeting as well.”

“We are truly grateful for your contribution. I know how hot it was on Wednesday when you had your lemonade stand and bake sale! We appreciate your dedication and willingness to support our cause.”

4) “Always bring a gift.” – Your donors have given a lot and deserve something physical to show for it. Make sure to find ways throughout the year or fundraising season to give them some sort of “swag” item to show for it. Take care to know your donors and what matters to them so you can find a gift that will be relevant to what is important to them.4

Moms have a way of making you feel special like no one else. They take careful time out of their lives to spoil you and let you know that you matter to them. That, in essence is what you need to do to cultivate the right relationship with your donors. They need to know that it’s not just their donation that matters, but them as a person.

Good Luck and Happy Fundraising!


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