By Sheri Baker
We are always looking for ways to increase our fundraising. Recruiting new donors is a prime focus, but there are ways that we can seriously impact the amount and frequency of donations from existing donors as well.
There is an interrelationship between the number of times you contact or “touch” a donor or prospect and the amount of the gift(s) they give. And if your primary focus is to only show your gratitude during those contacts, the donations will increase exponentially.
Example: I worked with one nonprofit group that made a point to thank and appreciate their donors without asking for anything else in return. The staff of this organization brought together a group of members (The Gratitude Committee), volunteers, board members and staff, who were passionate about their cause…and who enjoyed talking on the telephone. The group objective was to call members, visitors, and donors just to thank them for their support – whether it be money, volunteering, prayers, etc. - and to have a minimum of 3 contacts with each person through the year.
Methodology, On the initial call, they did not ask for anything, instead expressing gratitude and a sincere appreciation for their support. In fact, when people they called asked if they were calling for a donation, the team members clearly explained that was not the purpose of the call. This may sound counter-intuitive, but this group found many of their donors and visitors were shocked when they were thanked and not asked for anything else.
On future contacts, the objective was still to show gratitude and not ask for donations. This group made the Thank You phone calls, sent a hand-signed and addressed Thanksgiving card in November, made calls to personally invite people to free events, tours and more.
Results: So how were their results? The Gratitude Team worked in conjunction with several other groups and projects, so it is tough to pin down the specifics. But here are some of the things we saw:
- The phone calls were the talk of the town!
- Some people who were called volunteered to help make calls.
- Several business people in the organization started calling their own customers, just to thank them for their business.
- Increased membership, from called to visitors to events, tours
- Over a 2-year period, volunteers increased by 150%.
- People made their Gratitude caller their “go-to” person in the organization.
- 40% of donors who were contacted regularly became multi-year donors.
With an Attitude of Gratitude, the sky is the limit for your fundraising. Use your imagination and go for it!
Stay tuned for more….