The importance of thanking donors, quickly and often.

January 28, 2013

Anyone who has experienced success in fundraising–and the profound responsibility of stewarding generous donors–knows that gratitude is everything.

Whether or not your donors crave public recognition for their gifts, donors deserve simple but heartfelt appreciation from your organization and confirmation of the difference their gift will make.

Years ago, Kim Klein, founder of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal, came to town. One of my favorite Kleinisms was her quote, “If you don’t have time to thank your donors, you don’t have time for donors.”

I’d like to add the need for urgency in thanking donors–expressing appreciation REALLY soon after they make the gift.

And I have a hunch that Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation, might like to add the importance of thanking your donors in many different ways–perhaps even eight different ways.

Let’s talk about the Giving Challenge for a moment and how you might say thanks.

You can start by assigning someone on your team to be responsible for e-mailing your donors immediately after they give to thank them for their support.  Heck, you could even call each one to say thanks.  I’m guessing that the delight of hearing an enthusiastic, friendly and appreciative voice on the other end of the phone will offer an unexpected reason to feel great about their decision to give.

If your donor is okay with being publicly recognized, you could thank him/her on Facebook, in your next newsletter (print or e-news), in your next event program, in a special thank you tour of your organization.

Don’t forget that all-important hand-written thank you note. Ask your board members to help you with them. There’s nothing like being appreciated by an organization’s board, and it directly involves your volunteer leaders in the fundraising process without them asking for money.

How many other ways can you think of to say thanks?  We have given you seven!

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

P.S. Remember, giving your donors goods or services in exchange for their gifts is not permissible since the gift is 100% tax-deductible.

thank you2


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