Thanking constituents has huge impact on nonprofit donations

Fundraising software makes donor management and appreciation easier. Thanking donors for their gifts is the best way to amplify funding and ensure they give again in the future.

The impact
Fundraising Success Magazine stated that a thank-you note sent by mail to acknowledge a donation is the most critical step in retaining donors and establishing a good relationship with them. John Graham, vice president of ministry advancement for In Touch Ministries, asserted that this quick response time will lead to more engagement from donors and continued giving.

Pamela Grow, one of the top 40 most-effective fundraising consultants, related an experience on her blog of receiving a personal phone call from a small nonprofit 15 minutes after making a contribution. This direct connection inspired her to give again. She has even adopted the system herself and now starts her workday phoning donors to give thanks. Grow understands that obtaining the second donation will be twice as hard as the first one. She does not want to give her supporters any reason to decide against contributing again.

People like to be appreciated, especially when spending time, money and energy on a cause they believe in. Showing them this courtesy retains their support and interest in an organization.

The process
Network for Good and Care2 stated that one of the keys to giving thanks is making sure the message focuses on the provider, not the recipient. Keep in mind that the top reason funders discontinue financial support of an organization is because they were treated poorly. Be courteous and avoid promoting another fundraising opportunity.

The organization also outlined several effective tools that nonprofits should use to keep focus on the donor. One key distinction that charities need to make is that receipts are different from gratitude. While necessary for tax purposes, a receipt is certainly not a meaningful response to a generous constituent. They lack personality and don't engage the donor in the activities of the nonprofit.

Charities excelling at showing appreciation stand out against an ocean of groups lacking a consistent thank-you system. Getting creative with the process is an admirable way to shine in this task. Videos and photos sent to donors give them a better idea where their funding goes and who the beneficiary is. Often nonprofits will have recipients write handwritten letters or draw pictures so that each contributor gets a unique card. These methods are tangible, personal and have a greater effect on the viewer.

Another way to show gratitude is listing all contributions the donor has made to date. This distinct number gives them a great sense of accomplishment and keeps the focus on their individual efforts.

Guide Star encourages nonprofits to add an invitation for a facility tour or admission to an upcoming event along with the thank-you message. When people feel they are part of an organization, rather than outside observing, their gifts will likely come more often and in larger quantities. However, make sure there is no additional fee or donation requirement, as this will read less like appreciation and more like solicitation.

The solution
Investing in fundraising and donor management software will make sending messages of thanks to donors much easier and help boost funding for nonprofits.