[SHORT POST] The simple things very few nonprofits do for their major donors

The Virtuous Circle.

You guys. It really is this simple. And so few nonprofits do it.

  • Yesterday I heard about a nonprofit that hadn’t communicated (at all!) to their major donors in 2 years.
  • There’s the story that’s going around about the guy who gave a million dollars to his alma mater – and never received a thank you.
  • And there’s story after story about major donors who gave large gifts and then, after being thanked, were never communicated to again until they were asked for their next large gift.

Each time a major donor gives a gift to your organization, make damn sure there is a plan to Thank them well and later Report back to them what their gift made possible.

Here’s Why

When you thank a donor well, they know their gift was appreciated and important. Put your donor hat on for a moment. As a donor, you’d like to feel appreciated and important, right?

When you Report well, they know their gift actually made a difference. As a donor, you’d like to know that your gift made a difference, right? And you’d be more likely to give again if you know your gift made a difference, right?

The Easy Steps

If you’re like most nonprofits, at least 80% of your revenue comes from 20% (or less) of your donors. And usually, it’s closer to 90/10. So we’re not talking about that many people.

Here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Go make a list of the last 10 major donors who gave your organization a gift
  2. For each one, write down whether they need to be Thanked or Reported to.
  3. Over the next 10 days, do the appropriate step for each major donor.

You’ll be amazed at how happy they will be to hear from you. And you’ve instantly made it more likely they will give you a gift this year!

Jim Shapiro

Jim Shapiro is the fundraising coach you always wanted, the proven Sherpa who can help you get to the top of the mountain. He has 20 years experience raising money, including serving as the VP of Development for a $300m nonprofit. He then co-founded The Better Fundraising Co. to help small-to-medium nonprofits raise more money. Jim is married, serves his community by coaching high school football, and has three children.

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