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The Year of Thanking Donors

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving

I spend a great deal of time talking to nonprofits and donors; it is the best part of my job. Telling complete strangers what I do can result in some truly amazing stories about why they donate on Colorado Gives Day. My favorite was the donor who told me she thought it should be a national holiday!

My least favorite thing is to hear from donors who love giving, but then never receive a thank you from the organization. We need to celebrate and appreciate these donors who take the time to go to ColoradoGives.org, search for their favorite nonprofits and make a gift. Community First Foundation sends each donor their receipt, but it is still the responsibility of individual nonprofits to thank these donors. It is the nonprofit’s responsibility to cultivate relationships with donors to turn them into long-term supporters.

As we move into 2017, let’s all set the goal of making this the year of thanking donors. The #GivingTuesday movement has started a new hashtag, #RetentionWednesday, and I love the sentiment. What if every nonprofit on ColoradoGives.org took 30 minutes each Wednesday to connect with individual donors in unique ways?

This could start with a thank you to donors and an update on what’s being done with the money they donated on Colorado Gives Day. What is the impact of their gift?

The next step is to continue to keep donors involved. Nonprofits need to craft a plan that goes beyond adding donors to newsletter lists.

What if in the middle of the year nonprofits did something to thank these donors again and update them on how much their donation has impacted the organization? What if this update was sent on July 6 – six months after Colorado Gives Day? What if each nonprofit had its board make phone calls? Or sent a simple one-page letter telling donors about something that was accomplished specifically because of them. This is the kind of thing that makes donors feel like part of an organization’s mission.

I heard recently that donors aren’t giving to individual organizations, they are giving through organizations to solve issues. They are outsourcing their public good to nonprofits. Let’s all resolve to not only help these donors outsource their good but appreciate them for it!

For more ideas, watch our webinar on retention fundraising: Strategies for Keeping Your Colorado Gives Day Donors


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