Go figure, but a simple “thank you” goes a long way. Especially when it comes to donations.
Most nonprofit organizations spend a lot of their time searching for new donors. This may cause them to forget to appreciate the ones they already have. To keep donations coming year after year, you need to build a relationship with your supporters.
Fortunately, there are many ways for nonprofits to do this.
The easiest way to build a relationship from the start is to show your appreciation. Sending your donor a donation receipt letter lets your donors know when you receive and value their donation. Something as simple as a “thank you” or a small gift will make them more likely to donate again in the future.
If you want to keep your donors committed to your nonprofit, then you need to add an extra splash of R-E-S-P-E-C-T (did you sing that like we did?). Here’s how you can show your donors appreciation and respect to keep them donating again and again.
Send a Donation Receipt Letter
When your nonprofit receives a donation of $250 or more, you must send a donation receipt letter. This letter also serves as documentation of their donation so donors to claim a tax deduction. Most donors expect a “thank you” or some form of recognition for their donation.
But what should this letter include? That’s up to you.
However, you should include:
- The IRS recognizes your nonprofit as tax-exempt
- What and how much the donor donated
- The date of the donation
- Any gifts the nonprofit reciprocated or a statement that the nonprofit gave no substantial gifts
- A handwritten note
Make sure your donor receives a donation receipt letter within a reasonable amount of time after you receive the donation. The sooner you send it, the better.
The Importance of R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Here’s a breakdown of how you can RESPECT your donors.
Respect What Your Donors Want
This may sound easy and for the most part, it is. Some donors may have a special request, such as remaining anonymous or not hearing back from you. If this is the case, listen to and respect their request.
Enlist the Help of Your Colleagues
Personalizing your donor outreach shows your donors you pay attention to and care about them. Wrangle a team of your colleagues together to segment your donors within your available time, budget, and expertise.
From there, set the criteria your colleagues must use to maintain consistency based on what’s worked and your fundraising goals. Also, provide support and feedback to help your colleagues. This will help them create effective donation receipt letters and improve outreach.
Start Your Own Donor Advisory Board
Reach out to donors to find a few who are willing to share 5-10 minutes with your nonprofit each month. This allows you to learn about your donors, what they want, and how they perceive your nonprofit.
Execute a Logging and Analyzing System
Create an accessible system to log, analyze, and share donor information. Everyone who is working on learning more about donors can add information and learn from others.
You can learn and track your donors’ likes, dislikes, and influences which will help you create an effective fundraising plan.
Personalize your Message and Relationship
As always, have a personalized approach to your relationship with your donors. This lets them know that they are heard and ultimately respected.
Correcting Your Course
Always be willing to adjust your fundraising approaches to fit your donors’ needs. You can base this on their interactions with your nonprofit. Adapting to your donors’ expectations, suggestions and schedules shows a lot of respect.
Go through the information gathered to learn about what is and is not working with your donor retention. Work with your Advisory Board to gather suggestions about what you can continue to improve.
With RESPECT, you can learn how to truly appreciate and respect your donors. If your nonprofit doesn’t have the resources, you can focus on just a few steps. Reaching out and listening to your donors is a great way to learn about their values and expectations.
Other Ways to Respect Your Donors
If the RESPECT strategy doesn’t align with your nonprofit’s needs, there are many other ways to respect your donors.
The most important one is effective communication. Your donors and volunteers are busy, so when you do reach out, make it worth their time. When it’s time for fundraising, share your goals, expectations, and dates to keep donors well-informed.
Respect your donors’ time. Donor and volunteer appreciation events are nice but most donors prefer you respect their time. This is when a “thank you” letter or acknowledgment is preferable.
Treat your donors as people because they are people. Keep communication personable and personalized to each donor.
Always express gratitude for your supporters’ donations and time. This includes a donation receipt letter, a spontaneous “thank you” note, or word of encouragement. Learn about your donors’ news and events to send a letter or email of support or acknowledgment. Little bits of communication shows you care and appreciate your donors and who they are.
Start Respecting Your Donors Today
Your donors are one of your most precious assets for the success of your nonprofit. Taking time to get to know them and respecting their suggestions, time, and gifts will go a long way.
Do you want to learn more? Let’s get in touch to start planning your most successful fundraising strategy yet!