Asking for a donation in a gift acknowledgement — the work of a schmuck?

You’ve probably heard that if you ask a donor for a gift within an acknowledgement, the seas will boil, the moon will turn red, and the donor will leave you forever, telling everyone she knows what a mean-spirited schmuck you are.

Reality is not quite that.

In fact, a gift acknowledgement is a really excellent place to ask — if you do it right.

It’s important to remember two related things about donors:

  • Statistically, the time a donor is most likely to give is soon after they’ve given.
  • Giving feels good.

There’s a population of donors who do all their giving by responding to acknowledgements.

The thing to keep in mind about asking while thanking, is that the primary job is thanking. In fact, there’s no asking at all, really. Just a reply device that says something like “My next gift.” And a return envelope. That’s it. Everything else is pure gratitude for the previous gift.

The last thing you want is for your acknowledgement to feel like it’s saying, “Thanks for your gift, but it wasn’t enough. Please send more now!” That is what a mean-spirited schmuck would do.

Instead, just make giving easy. Many donors will respond well, because they’re still feeling good about the previous gift.


Comments

2 responses to “Asking for a donation in a gift acknowledgement — the work of a schmuck?”

  1. In our opinion, the people who should be deciding fundraising strategy for a nonprofit are the ones who are the most sales-minded. Also, the ones who are the relationship builders. Sometimes this is a board member, but other times it may not even be someone on the executive staff.
    Nonprofits need people with selling skills, who aren’t afraid of networking and relationship building, to spearhead fundraising initiatives.
    Increasing fundraising margins is also about having the best tools. Some tools convert better than others.
    For example, research shows that many nonprofits will raise more overall with an SMS donation program in their marketing mix than they will without one.
    Text-to-donate is one area that is experiencing an increase in clickthrough and conversion rates, as more and more people transition to mobile-first. Check out this helpful infographic: http://www.gmg.cm/blog/do-sms-donations-work

  2. In our opinion, the people who should be deciding fundraising strategy for a nonprofit are the ones who are the most sales-minded. Also, the ones who are the relationship builders. Sometimes this is a board member, but other times it may not even be someone on the executive staff.
    Nonprofits need people with selling skills, who aren’t afraid of networking and relationship building, to spearhead fundraising initiatives.
    Increasing fundraising margins is also about having the best tools. Some tools convert better than others.
    For example, research shows that many nonprofits will raise more overall with an SMS donation program in their marketing mix than they will without one.
    Text-to-donate is one area that is experiencing an increase in clickthrough and conversion rates, as more and more people transition to mobile-first. Check out this helpful infographic: http://www.gmg.cm/blog/do-sms-donations-work

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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