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Sometimes All You Need

nonprofit fundraising Jun 14, 2022

Nonprofit fundraisers are always on the lookout for creative, budget-friendly ways to steward donor generosity and show appreciation.

Sometimes all you need (and it may be all you have) is a sincere, heartfelt thank you. In fact, in most cases that's enough.

One of the most successful fundraising initiatives I've led was not a fundraiser at all. It was a thank-a-thon conducted close to the end of the fiscal year.

The idea was simple.

  • Schedule board members, folks who benefit from our mission, and staff to come into the office for a couple hours over the course of three nights and make thank you calls.
  • Upon arrival give the volunteers the detail view of a Gift Detail and Summary report which includes names, phone numbers, and that fiscal year's gifts from donors. (For my fellow data nerds in the house...this was long before Raiser's Edge NXT was around so this report came from good old-fashioned Raiser's Edge database view.)
  • Provide a loose script outline to start the conversation with the donor.
  • Volunteers could call from their mobile phone or an office landline.

Donors were pleasantly pleased, if not completely shocked, we were simply calling to say thank you. Some appreciated it so much they gave additional gifts. Of course any gifts at the end of the fiscal year are always welcome, but the additional gifts were not the point.

The goal was to create a sense of community and goodwill among our donors, board, clients, and staff with a personalized thank you.

If a donor appreciation party is not in your budget, don't worry. Sometimes "thank you" is all you need.

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