Nonprofit fundraising needs to be thoughtful

by | Mar 31, 2020 | Marketing Tips

[TL;DR: fundraising doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it does need to be thoughtful]

In today’s hurried society, people appreciate now more than ever when someone goes the extra mile. 

Just recently, I was on the phone with a strategic partner. We usually take time to catch up on life before jumping into any agenda items- and this call was no different. What was different, however, was a week later when a box of dog toys showed up at my office. You see, I had shared with him that our family was getting a puppy, and he took the time to send a card along with a box full of toys that our new addition is now chewing on instead of our shoes. That’s the kind of thoughtful action that makes a lasting impression. And the best part? Thoughtful doesn’t always have to be elaborate (or expensive). 

Here are a few ideas to up your game and be more thoughtful with your donors. 

  • Send them birthday cards (it takes more effort to gather and remember these dates, but that’s what makes it special)
  • Pick up the phone to thank them when they give
  • Follow up when you hear they are having a difficult time (i.e. surgeries, losing a loved one, lost a pet, etc.)
  • If you send direct mail, include a hand-written note. 
  • Invite them to coffee simply to update them on the impact of their giving
  • If your cause isn’t local, send them a postcard when you visit the work in person
  • For older donors who aren’t on social media, print out clippings of your social posts and mail it to them. It’s extra work that may feel unnecessary but will make them feel included without having to learn something new (they’re already having to do that enough)
  • After someone gives, find a way to report back on the impact of their gift
  • Share tidbits that make them feel like they’re getting a glimpse “behind the scenes”
  • Provide updates before they’re public (when appropriate). Everyone loves being “in the know” with the causes they care about. 
  • Send them a gift with meaning. Does your organization support micro-enterprise? Mail your supporters some of the goods made by those entrepreneurs. 

The goal here is to connect with your supporters more than just when you need something. Donors are partners in your work, and partnership should lead to a relationship. Be thoughtful and it will lead to those authentic relationships that pay dividends for them, you, and the cause you are rallying around.


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