Today, I want to amplify something Bloomerang wrote about in a recent article.
There’s a specific good idea in the article (more on that, I promise). But there’s also a link to a terrific report about your thank you program. You don’t want to miss it!
Yes, program. Do you plan thanking donors in those terms? Or is it merely a necessary step in securing your next gift?
Think about thank you as a program.
Thanks should be a thoughtful part of donor stewardship and solicitation. Something beyond a tax receipt or a rote letter.
If we say we’re in the relationship business, then we ought to weigh thanking donors and letting them know about the good they’ve done as heavily as asking them for help. You would probably wonder about a relationship where you did all the giving and got nothing in return, right?
I urge you to download the report. It is packed with interesting information and real-world results. You won’t be sorry!
Overcome organizational roadblocks to a good thank you program.
The barrier that prevents fundraisers from designing a good thank you program is evidence that it matters. As a fundraiser, one involved with your donors, you know it’s simple manners. You should feel a need to say thank you.
But you might need help convincing others in the organization that how, when and how often to say thank you all matter. The report gives you case studies and findings to support you as you take good care of your donors.
If you want to raise enough to support your mission, retention is key. And not taking care of donors – thanking them well, letting them know they’ve made a difference – is a good way to send donors away.
Donors at different stages of their relationship respond to different messages.
You might want to consider a different emotional approach depending on the particular donor’s relationship with your organization. In some cases, it’s better to focus on the impact the donor has made. In others, it’s better to focus on the donor’s relationship with the organization.
But in all cases, you want to thoughtfully design a program that’s about the donor’s needs.
The building of these good feelings however takes time. Based on our test, we estimate that if non-profits thank people four times a year (through mail, email or phone), the can increase the four good feelings (connectedness to the non-profit, competence, autonomy and relatedness) by between 5% and 8%. So in five years, if these increases are additive they can increased by between 25% and 40%.
Meetings donors’ emotional needs matters!
Relationships are two-way
Are you regularly using surveys and questions to learn what your donors value? Are you using them to move people from first action (signing a survey, for instance) toward giving?
Then, it gives you solid examples you can use to make the case for the practical benefits of a good thank you program.
That idea I promised you…
Go back now and read the Bloomerang article. (I’ll wait!) Too many tabs open already? OK, here’s the simple idea any organization can try.
Thank people BEFORE you ask them.
Send a thank you – without an ask – before you send an appeal.
The example given is an email thanks, followed by an email appeal. How simple would that be to do?
What was the result of doing this?
Those who received the (thank you) email gave on average $45 more than those who did not. This is a 67% increase in giving.
What would a 67% increase in giving mean to you?
As you get your year-end appeals out the door, give this some thought. Could you try this with a segment of your list?
(Obviously, this is easier if you have a good donor CRM – one that lets you keep your donor email lists synced with your email provider. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a strong system for your data if you want successful communications!)
And as you plan for 2019, include a plan for thanking donors as well as asking them.