Susan's Blog: Giving Thanks

It’s started.

The flood of year-end mail appeals and events. As a young front-line fundraiser this is when I used to dream of being Noah-drowning out all the other organizations in the world to have my donors know just mine, and share their passion and gifts only with us.

Now I know that there is enough. Your donors will give, and should give to the causes they love.

There are enough donors and there is enough money to support the many worthy organizations working to improve our world. It's our job as fundraisers, to make the case for support, show the impact of past gifts, and share our vision and mission in a compelling way.

I'll save a later post on what makes a ‘worthy’ organization. Today the question is: how do you make a powerful and meaningful connection with your donors now?

How on earth will you be heard through the noise of creative, beautiful, moving letters, well-crafted emails and video tugging at your donors' heartstrings during this time of year that they are wanting to give, waiting to give and ready to give?

It’s vitally important that your nonprofit leader actively assumes the role of head cheerleader and connector right now. Show your fundraisers that you understand the priorities and support the work.

Imagine this: What if your donors actually thanked you for the opportunity to invest in your mission?

Here’s your six-point plan to get there:

1. Find or rediscover your deep and abiding passion for your mission. Take some time [even just moments if that’s all you can find] to reconnect your heart to your mission.

2. Make your own gift of support to your organization. When you make your gift, you make it easier to connect with your donors. You can ask them to join you in continuing their investment in your work.

3. Review your Loyal Donor-Friends list [people who give consistently over the years] showing you how much they care]; reach out to every single one of them if possible; or at least your top 100 with a personal email, note or phone call in the next few weeks.

4. Identify/articulate your greatest needs in an honest and real way. Keep it specific to the successful outcomes of your mission. Show the people who ‘care the most’ about your work, that you care the most about their support.

5. Identify the true value that you have to offer donors [hint: it has as much to do with offering community as saving the world] and offer strategic and targeted giving opportunities that the people who care so much about your work will thank you for.

6. Send out ‘you’re welcome’ letters [otherwise known as acknowledgement or thank you letters]. 

Fundraising work isn't about winning, or getting the most. It's about having purpose, changing lives and changing the world. Share your vision of change with your donors, and they will share your journey to that future place. 

Your donor-friends are ready to give, are you ready to receive?