The surprisingly easy way to make your fundraising “stick”

Let’s say you got a direct mail or email about a “puppy farm” in your area. Your donation to the organization that’s talking to you will help rescue puppies and shut down the farm.

Sounds good to me, you might say. So you donate.

A little later, you get a thank-you message. It goes like this:

Thank you for doing your part to help animals everywhere around the world to live lives of dignity.

You might wonder if there’s been a mistake: You wanted to do something about the puppy farm, not animals everywhere.

That organization is thanking you with a generic thank-you message. At least they thanked you — that’s more than most nonprofits manage to do.

But they’ve really missed an important opportunity to bond with donors.

They put a lot of effort into their puppy farm appeal. It was emotional, specific, and urgent. It put some compelling action in your hands. And it worked!

But all the air went out of the tires when they thanked you.

(I have to mention again that the fact they thank you at all puts them in the elite of fundraisers who do stuff right.)

Here’s what any fundraiser can and should do about thanking their donors:

Write the thank-message when you write the asking message.

Be just as emotional and specific: Thank them for the same thing you asked them to do!

You’ll end up with a thank-you message that does more than go through the motions of thanking, but actually reconnects the donor with the emotions and thoughts she had when she gave.

That will lead to better donor retention. Especially when you do this consistently over time.

BONUS

If you write the thank-you message before you write the ask, you’ll probably write a stronger fundraising piece. Grappling with the thanks puts your head and heart closer to the donor! Try it; it works.


Comments

2 responses to “The surprisingly easy way to make your fundraising “stick””

  1. Gabriel Avatar

    Thank you, Jeff, for doing your part helping fundraisers everywhere do better!

  2. Gabriel Avatar

    Thank you, Jeff, for doing your part helping fundraisers everywhere do better!

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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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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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