When we look closely at organizations struggling to meet fundraising goals, we find a major culprit is often donor attrition. According to the 2016 AFP Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report, for every 100 donors gained in 2015, 96 donors were lost through attrition. With the rising costs of attracting a single new donor, it is much more effective to steward current donors to combat attrition. While donors leave an organization for a wide variety of reasons, often the simplest way to get them to stay is with a thank you. By incorporating more thank yous into your fundraising strategy, you’ll find more of your donors returning to you year after year.
1. Start every day with a thank you
We live in a world of busy. Busy is a beast that takes over even the most well-planned and organized days. Beat the busy by making it a priority to start every day with a thank you. By taking 5 minutes to pen a quick note or place a call with a donor before you get absorbed by your inbox, you will not only be sure to get in your daily thanks, but also always have that time to start your day on something positive.
2. Share your thanks online
Sometimes, particularly at large organizations, it can be difficult to thank every donor individually as often as we might like. Fortunately, tools like social media and email marketing give us the ability to reach our entire audience at once, or send targeted messages to specific groups. When planning social media for a non-profit organization, consider using the Three A’s to make your content strategy - Appreciation, Advocacy and Appeals. At most, only a third of your content should focus on asking your donors for money. Thank you posts are a great way to make sure your audience doesn’t feel overstretched and underappreciated.
3. Recruit a thank you army
Fundraising is more successful as a team, and the same goes for stewardship. Utilize staff members outside of the development team - think program officers who can share unique experiences in the field. Call upon board members and ask them to help send personal thank yous to donors, particularly those who they may have personally recruited to your organization. Higher education institutions often rely on students to make fundraising calls, but students can be even more impactful making thank you calls, creating opportunities for donors to interact directly with those who benefit from their dollars.