PMA Consulting, LLC

Two Words Can Work Wonders for Nonprofits and Fundraising

It’s such a simple phrase to say…It contains only two words, and is almost guaranteed to make people feel good. The phrase I’m speak of is “Thank you.”

Many who do good deeds are not looking for publicity, honors or awards. Most people actually shy away from these types of platitudes and would prefer just a small token of recognition for the deed. Being thanked is always an appreciated gesture. Yet, so many nonprofits fail to have a plan in place to properly thank the donors who have given so generously to their organization.

In a time of economic volatility and uncertainty, nonprofit organizations are working hard to lure in donors to help save crucial programs as well as to stay properly staffed. They work on plans to uncover prospects, research their background (from uncovering clues about their personal wealth to finding clues about their potential giving capacities), and interview them for a better understanding about what causes are important.

It takes a lot of work to bring money in, much more than an outsider might expect. However, once a nonprofit has received the donation, what happens next?

At many nonprofits, after the donation has been secured, a typical advancement department spends a long time writing, revising, and refining a thank you letter. It usually requires the director of development to write an initial draft, have it modified by an executive director, and get a final approval from a member of the board – It is a necessary process.

However, much of this would be made easier if the organization would employ a tactic that can make people feel that their donations are important. Simply pick up the phone. The call can be made by a board member, a senior staff member, or a member of the volunteer staff. Many donors just want to hear firsthand how appreciated and meaningful their donation is to the organization. For the organization, it is an excellent way for them to cultivate a relationship without spending the time and energy on a letter that can get easily overlooked.

Nonprofits want to show how much their organization is growing, particularly from a donation stand point. Nonprofits have to show their board that positive results are occurring. Donors want to know there will be a positive return on their investment as well. But the organization needs to realize that the large percentage of their future donations will not come from outside prospects.

A substantial portion of future funds comes from within the donors they already have. But this can only occur if the donors are being properly cared for and cultivated. It’s why recognition of donations is so crucial for future donations to occur. It is a simple change that all nonprofits can institute, but one most organizations tend to overlook.

We would like to hear your thoughts about this topic. Donors, are you receiving a personalized “thank you”? If so, does this make you more likely to give again in the future? Organization members, what steps do you take to make sure donors are being recognized and thanked?