Thanksgiving is a Great Time for DonorLove!

It’s the week of Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and we are counting our blessings.

Your donors are a great blessing to your cause because they make your organization’s work possible.

So, why not take advantage of the season and send loving thanks to these lovely, terribly important people? y

The newest 21st-century fundraising strategies are full of #DonorLove.

We now know that the more love we send our donors, the more they will respond with more generous gifts.

Just this week, the Philanthropy Centre in the UK publicized its (not to be missed) latest study — “Learning to Say Thank You: The Role of Donor Acknowledgements” by the brilliant researchers Drs. Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang.

There’s a quote at the beginning of the report from a donor who is sharing how she feels when she’s thanked: 

“It’s not just thanking, it’s kind of loving me.”

So every time you reach out to a donor, you want to make them FEEL GOOD about the difference THEY are making.

It’s an emotional impact you want to make – with every #donorlove touch.

The most important finding from the report just maybe this:

Communications that make donors feel good about the difference their contribution made increased average gifts and response rates significantly.

“How do I thank thee? . . . Let me count the ways.”

When I started fundraising at Duke University, we had a great saying:

“Find seven ways to thank your donors and they will give again!”

That’s been my motto all these years. If you want to build a productive, profitable long-term relationship with your donor — then say thank you over and over!

Try a Thankathon to express your #DonorLove:

 If you really want to make your donors happy (and prep them for year-end asks)  then why not hold a Thanksgiving thankathon?

It’s like a mass thank-you session.

Bring in your board members, your volunteers, staff, or other donors – together for a fun night.

Get on the phone and call your donors.  Thank them for everything they have done to help the (children, students, elderly, poor, hungry, prisoners, sick etc).

Don’t thank them for helping YOUR organization be successful. Instead thank them for the impact THEY are making in the world.

Your thank you helps donors feel like you care about them as real people rather than wallets or ATM machines. 

This is a great place to use your board members.  Studies show that when board members thank donors, their future gifts are larger. 

Here’s a nice guide from the Benevon folks on how to hold a Thankathon: 

Start by making your list of who you will call. Consider how many donors you have had in the last year. Choose a dollar threshold over which you will call. For example, start with all donors who have given you over $1,000, then move to all those who gave between $500 and $999.

Put together your core team of three to five callers, made up of people of some stature within your organization.

Ideally, these will be board members and volunteers who enjoy talking with people and are well-organized.

If you put staff members on the team, there should be no more than one staff caller for every three volunteer callers. One of the staff callers should be the executive director.

Do not “require” that anyone be a caller; rather, you want to have callers who choose to participate and will enjoy doing it.

Try this script for your thankathon:

“Hello, Mrs. xxxx? My name is ___________,  I’m on the board of _________.  I was just calling to say thank you so much for your support this year. It has allowed us to expand/maintain our ___________ programs. We’ve been able to offer our services to _____ more families/children in our community. All of this is thanks to you. We so appreciate your generosity. 

Bottom Line: If you want to create tons of donor love, then thank your donors early and often!