Keeping donors engaged with your nonprofit organization should be a priority. The start of the new year is a great time to ensure that donors from the past year were acknowledged and to reflect on the effectiveness of your donor stewardship practices.
Always thank people for their contributions as soon as possible. Expressions of thanks are like pancakes – they need to be served right away!
Evaluate Your Process
Look at how your organization is engaging donors. Examine how your organization records donations, thanks donors, and tracks statistics related to donors.
Below are a few questions to begin your evaluation process:
- What is the process for thanking donors?
- Are all donors receiving acknowledgement within seven days of making a donation?
- Are donors who make contributions over $250 receiving written acknowledgement to claim the deduction on their individual tax returns?
- Are acknowledgements personalized?
- Does the acknowledgement state how the organization will use the donation?
- How many new donors did we engage this year?
- How many returning donors did we engage this year?
- What stewardship methods seem to be working?
- What stewardship methods need improvement?
Suggestions to Improve
- Update the content of your acknowledgement letters. Let donors know what goals you accomplished last year. Tell them what goals the organization is working towards this year.
- Send an end of year summary of donations to donors that made multiple contributions to the organization. If the contributions were over $250, make sure to include the appropriate language so that the donor can claim the deduction.
- Utilize various approaches to contact donors. Follow up with a phone call in addition to a letter to thank a donor. Send a letter in the mail to request a donation from a donor that typically donates online.
- Keep your donors engaged by letting them know about the work your organization is doing. Invite them to participate in volunteer events. Use quarterly and annual reports to share your progress through statistics that show how their money is being spent, but be sure to also include personal stories from staff, volunteers, or clients.