[Strategies for Success - Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook]
Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook

May 24, 2016

Gratitude Equals Dollars

imageWhy is it that some nonprofits have trouble demonstrating true appreciation for their donors' great gifts and good hearts? In most cases, the organization's apparent lack of gratitude is not an intentional oversight or an actual lack of appreciation, but the lack of an efficient administrative system.

There are many reasons this critical step in the fundraising process gets pushed to the side, ranging from being short staffed, overwhelmed and not knowing exactly what to do, or letting too much time lapse and missing the window to respond. But not expressing appreciation is not an unimportant administrative task.  Being thankful for gifts will help increase your chance of generating more giving in the future. Thankfulness equals more dollars for your organization.

Following are some tips to help you stay grateful:

Write it now
Always write a handwritten note to a donor or make a phone call right after receiving a significant gift. It only takes a few minutes. Do not delay. Waiting not only could make the organization look unorganized, but possibly unappreciative.

Provide updates
Newsletters and memos are always great to share with donors. In addition to the regular communication they should be receiving as a friend of the organization, make sure they feel on the inside track of information. Pass along good news of the nonprofit's success or give them a heads up about a new program or upcoming event.

Surprise them
Find out what they care about and surprise them with a small item that says, "We know you, and we like you." Spending a few dollars to send a wreath at Christmas or sending a congratulations card when they've received an award - these small, but meaningful gestures go a long way toward strengthening donor relationships.

Always make it clear that you are truly thankful for gifts. Finding the time to show appreciation may be hard to do when you are busy with so many other fundraising tasks, but taking it from an afterthought to a critical action could make a big difference in your organization's bottom line over time.

Kristy Burns, Vice President (Columbus, Ohio)


logoJoin Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour

Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook's mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:

San Diego
May 25-27, 2016

2016 Boy Scouts of America National Annual Meeting
Matt Beem
Ross Pfannenstiel
Tammy Weinman

London, U.K.
July 4, 2016

Institute of Fundraising Convention
"Relationship Fundraising: Where Do We Go From Here"
Adrian Sargeant

Washington, D.C.
July 13, 2016

Bridge Conference 2016
"Building Donor Loyalty: Just What Do We Know?"
Adrian Sargeant

Charlottesville, Va.
July 28, 2016

Virginia Fund Raising Institute
"Fundraising Leadership"
Keynote: Karin Cox

Beijing, China
July 28, 2016

2nd China Fundraising Conference
Adrian Sargeant

Kansas City
August 2016

Inspired Fundraising Summit
Adrian Sargeant

New Orleans
August 24-26, 2016

Boy Scouts of America Top Hands
Matt Beem
Ross Pfannenstiel
Tammy Weinman

Washington, D.C.
September 15, 2016

NonProfit Times Power and Influence Gala
Hartsook Sponsor

Kansas City
October 26, 2016

Shepherd's Centers of America
National Conference
Karin Cox

November 18, 2016

National Philanthropy Day
"Relationship Buidling: What Works and What Doesn't"
"Donor Retention and Loyalty"
Adrian Sargeant

Oklahoma City
August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
"Relationship Building: Where Do We Go From Here?"
Adrian Sargeant

August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
"Massive Fundraising"
Adrian Sargeant

Past Stops on the Tour

Resources for Smart Fundraising Available on Kindle

Keep up to date on the latest fundraising trends with the Kindle ASR Media collection:

Book Deal of the Monthimage

How to Get Million Dollar Gifts and Have Donors Thank You (ASR Media) recounts 101 strategies surrounding amazing, real life fundraising gifts of $1 million dollars or more. Click here for a special price of $10 (plus shipping and handling).

On the Web


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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, [email protected]. If you'd like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact [email protected].

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