Hooray – you just got through December and I hope everyone raised more money than they expected. Now it’s time to lay the foundation for your 2020 appeal. No rest for the weary!
Like everyone, I received my fair share of appeals in December. Sadly, this was the only time I heard from many of these nonprofits all year. A few had sent me newsletters, which is good – but most didn’t tell me how they used my contribution. Only a few nonprofits kept me informed – telling me how my funds made a difference before asking me again. Those are the charities I supported. The rest – their appeals went in the wastebasket or were deleted.
So here’s my question to you: if the only time you hear from your charity is when they want money –how does that make you feel? Probably the same way I feel – And I won’t give again. Nor do most donors. That is one reason why retention rates among donors continue to plummet: 57% of donors do not renew their gifts.
Today, donors have a lot of choices. Those that reach out to their donors, without asking, and communicate the impact they are having are the ones that will win the most support. Period. That’s why you have to start now if you want to renew this year’s support next year. Here’s a few ways you can begin:
- When you send a thank you letter – make it count. Don’t just spit out that perfunctory letter; share data about the difference their contribution is making.
- Create a Year in Review newsletter – basically telling your donors “Here is how we spent your money and here are the results we achieved because of you.” Be specific and open. Invite questions.
- Add a “Your Contribution at Work” section to your newsletters.
- For larger donors; have the CEO or Chairman of the Board send out a personalized letter offering a warm update of what your organization is doing or thinking about. Offer information you don’t necessarily share with the majority of your donors. And don’t be afraid to share your challenges. Donors want to know.
- Make thank you phone calls. Engage your donors in an actual conversation. Find out why they decided to make a contribution to your organization.
- Think about interviewing your donors and writing stories about why they give. Post it on your website, share it in your newsletter.
- Use a video to interview staff and ask them to thank your donors. Then send it personally to your major donors.
There are many more ways you can do this. And I invite you to share how you are keeping your donors informed all year long. We will post a few in our next newsletter – and even put a few on our website.
People give because they care. They keep giving because they know they are making a difference.
Happy New Year – and may it be a prosperous and successful one for all of you.