Two Simple Words

by Stacey Diffin-Lafleur

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Thank you.

That’s right; just say thanks to a donor when they choose to give to your cause. Do it immediately, do it with sincerity, and do it in a way they want to be thanked.

Get your board members involved in this exercise. It may be one of the most important things they do for your organization. Studies have shown that a thank you call from a board member results in more donations and sends a message of being organized, thoughtful and truly thankful.

I’m a donor, have been for years, and when I hear a heartfelt thanks from a senior volunteer or board member, I know the organization is paying attention and that I’m making a difference. And like other donors, it will probably make me give again or more.

The timing is important, do it, and do it soon, if you wait too long to make that important call, it may be construed as another ask.

It’s important to be organized in advance, set up a process, make sure your board member is ready and has set aside the time to make the calls. Most importantly make sure your donor data or lists are up-to-date so there is no confusion. One call per donor is enough; six calls from six different board members will only result in muddle, and a waste of everyone’s time. If necessary you can work with your board members to script their calls, but I advise against that, it comes off as sounding stiff and mechanical. Give them talking points if necessary, a casual and sincere voice at the end of the phone goes a long way. It’s also important to record the name of who made the thank you call, when it was they called and if there is any need for follow-up.

When you use this opportunity and stick to a process to say thanks you’ll get closer to your donors, make your volunteers feel more valued and open the door for further conversations. Donors are not giving to a machine, they are giving to people. It is not time wasted but a stepping stone to a relationship that can continue, thrive, and ultimately do more good for your cause.

Thank you.

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