Far too often, we rarely give our donors more than a momentary thought—as in when we are waiting for the results of the last mailing to see how much it “brings in.” It’s not necessarily that we’re ungrateful for their generous support. It’s just that we have so much more important work to do. The irony here is when we focus first on our donors and their needs; we have a great deal more resources to do the good work that we do. How’s that?
Certainly, donors like to hear of our good work. That’s easy. Although only 65% of nonprofits even thank their donors with a simple note—go figure. Seeing the evidence of our good work is even more effective with our investors: newsletters, media pieces and annual reports that focus on outcomes and effectiveness rather than efficiency. I won’t venture a guess how many nonprofits are actually succeeding at this, although I’m sure it’s considerably less than 65%.
Then there are the home-run organizations. These charities have figured out how to have their donors, their investors actually touch what they do. It’s this level of donor involvement and appreciation that drive over-the-top results like those achieved by Emory University by blowing past its $1.6 Billion goal.
By keeping their donor appreciation and recognition at the “ground level” through small, intimate settings, as opposed to grand galas and by providing simple physical reminders of donor impact, such as a stack of graduation hats to symbolize the number of lives changes by scholarships, Emory’s investors just keep coming back.
Principle 7 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Renew & Refresh™. High levels of donor renewal coupled with a healthy influx of new ones, achieve the sustainability—and scalability—of revenue that you so desire to fulfill your purpose. It’s available to you just by being involved—with your donors.
So, you say that you’re one of the many charitable organizations who have difficulty just telling your donors you appreciate them? That’s OK. Leap frog over the rest and offer to let your donors touch. Just be ready for the results.