I’m certainly not a hunter or a consumer of game, but as a fundraiser, this expression really resonates with me these days:

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

A lot of fundraisers right now are scrambling to meet monthly goals and to find new sources of income.  Of course we all are— there’s a lot at stake. But we mustn’t lose sight of the donors we have, whether they’ve given since the pandemic struck or not.  

Let’s all put on our thinking caps, get creative, and get out there and thank our donors from the bottom of our hearts.  You’ve gotta do it like you mean it.  And I know you mean it.  Because donors keep your good work going.

Here are some ideas to get your creative thinking going:

  1. SHARE YOUR CONCERNS. It’s ok to say COVID-19 has impacted your ability to raise funds and to let your donors know that you need them now more than ever.
  2. FOCUS ON YOUR DONORS. Think about getting granular with your $500+ or $1,000+ lapsed and saying not only how much you miss them, but referencing what cause or issue they last supported and talking about how that work might still be ongoing or how their gift enabled you to achieve your goal.  Share a new related project that they can support.
  3. APOLOGIZE if thank you notes were in any way delayed because of COVID.  An apology could lead to a constructive conversation and an upgrade or extra gift.
  4. CALL. Get on the phone.  In times like this, communication is key.
  5. FOCUS ON NEW HIGH VALUE DONORS.  Generate a list of the highest new donors and send them special notes or call them.
  6. SEGMENT THANK YOUS BY LOYALTY. If someone renewed at the same level, specify it and thank them not only for the gift, but for their loyalty and consistency.
  7. PROVIDE HOPE. Share some good news and success stories!

If you have other ideas, or if you’d like to share how you used this information to improve your donor relationships, we’d love to hear about it.

And please accept my thanks.  It is the work that you do that keeps good circulating in this world.  We need you now more than ever.

With best wishes,

Sally


Sally Frank

About the author

Sally Frank — Senior Vice-President, Social Media and Digital

Sally has over 20 years experience in direct marketing, having worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. From using data driven techniques to solicit small business card members for American Express, to targeting investors for Goldman Sachs’ start up, GS.com, Sally brings a diverse background to Faircom New York. She works with the Cousteau Society, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Human Rights Watch, USCJ, and TechnoServe among others.

Sally has a B.A. from Brown University and an M.B.A./M.A. from NYU’s Stern School of Business and Institute of French Studies, including studies at Hautes Études Commerciales in France. Outside of work, Sally likes to cook and run (not usually at the same time, but with four kids, the two activities sometimes overlap), and she plays flute in the Riverwinds Woodwind Quintet that she founded in 2010.

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