Acknowledging Your Most Loyal Donors

Fundraising is important for many nonprofits, schools, churches and community organizations in order to raise sufficient capital to fund various programs and acquire resources.  Often these dollars are raised through a few targeted fundraising campaigns throughout the year.  Perhaps there’s an annual walk-a-thon event, or sending an end-of-year donation request letter to your organization’s database, or a targeted online fundraising campaign promoted through your social networks.  Whatever fundraiser you choose, be sure to look closely at your reports to determine which initiatives (and which donors) contributed most to your success.  There’s a good chance that you might start to notice that a large percentage of funds received are from consistent donors.  These people are the ones that continue to donate year after year, event after event.   They are your most loyal supporters, and if you aren’t doing so already…it may be worth it to let them know how appreciative you are!

ThankYou

Acknowledge your loyal donors

  • If your organization hosts other events during the year (seminars, luncheons, holiday events, etc.) be sure to take a look at the attendee list and highlight any of these “consistent donors” who are planning to attend.  Most likely, many of them do participate in activities throughout the year, if they are a loyal supporter.  Rather than treating them like every other attendee, flag their name and pay them some extra special attention.  Perhaps it’s seating them at a table up-front for a speaker-luncheon, or maybe it’s asking the President of your organization to make his or her way over to their table to personally shake their hand and say “Thanks”.  These small acknowledgments will go a long way.
  • Consider utilizing your consistent donors for more than their money.  Perhaps you are looking for someone to speak at an upcoming event?  Take a look at your records and see if any of these individuals might make for an interesting guest speaker.  Often your consistent donors are high-level execs or small-business owners that would be thrilled at the opportunity to share their experience.  Another idea might be to feature their story on your blog or in your organization’s newsletter.
  • Ask their opinion!  Another great opportunity for your organization to evaluate your current efforts would be to contact loyal donors for surveys or focus groups.  They have likely been supporters for years and may offer some valuable insight as to what has worked and what needs improvement.  They will also likely appreciate the fact that you value their opinion.
  • Small tokens of appreciation are also nice gestures.  Send an occasional postcard or email to let them know that they are valued. Send them a Holiday Gift to thank them for their continuous support. Invite them to join your most loyal supporters in an annual charity golf tournament.  Or, host an annual VIP gala dinner for your top donors.  Make them feel special and show them your appreciation with special treatment. Develop a “Wall of Fame” where you recognize top donors by imprinting their name at the entrance of your building where all visitors and employees can see.

Research has shown that it’s about 7X cheaper to keep the donors you have happy, than to go out and acquire new ones.  Now, that’s not to say that expanding your donor database is not important. You should always be looking for opportunities to bring new donors on board.  But, don’t forget about the “oldies but goodies” – their consistent support has helped you achieve your success so far, and you want to be sure you don’t loose them. It also wouldn’t be too surprising if your consistent donors have friends or associates who also “give-back” to charitable causes.  If they start telling their friends about the wonderful things your organization does to acknowledge donors…they may be inadvertently sending more potential loyal donors your way!