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The Power of Gratitude: Moving the Needle on Thank You’s

Nov 25, 2019

This is the third post of our new guest blog series Knack, highlighting purposeful and powerful, local voices exploring nonprofit ideas, feelings, and know-how. 

Featured Guest Voice |  Vicki Davis, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Twiggs & Co.

The Power of Gratitude: Moving the Needle on Thank You’s

Every gift is meaningful, no matter the amount. I hear this often from nonprofits, but I rarely receive more than the standard, boring, impersonal tax letter. Thanks…

If you are looking to build a transformational fundraising program with relationships with people who care deeply about your mission as opposed to a transactional once a year “my hand is out, give me money” then consider these four tips on moving the needle on thank yous:

  1. Call to thank every donor. 

It is critically important to personally thank every single donor for their gift, especially their first gift. They made the decision to jump into your proverbial swimming pool. It is up to the development staff and Executive Director to now steward the relationship with them and your mission. Call them to say thank and always leave a voice message. If they answer the phone, ask them how they heard about you. Ask them about their background and their job. Strike up a conversation about their passions and what made them decide to give. Often-times, they will give you a wealth of information that you can utilize to grow into a relationship and perhaps turning a one-time gift into multiple gifts throughout the year. Have a “call to action” in mind when you speak with them. Invite them to volunteer, take a tour, even to join your newsletter. If you do not have the capacity to call all of your donors, ask key volunteers to become gratitude ambassadors, and make the calls for you.

  1. Don’t underestimate small gifts.

That $25 gift from Colorado Gives or your fundraising gala can be a powerful cultivation tool for you. The donor might be testing you to see if you appreciate their efforts to be impactful. They could have a passion for what you are doing, have the capacity to give a large donation, seeking a relationship with a nonprofit, but they might not know where to start. 

Even if the person is not a major gift prospect, they might be a great resource for your nonprofit. They could have the capacity for a monthly gift, multiple small gifts throughout the year, a company that matches gifts, or has an employee grant program, a volunteer or even an ambassador for your mission. A donation of any size can be transformational if cultivated correctly.  

Handwritten notes take time and resources to create but are completely unexpected in a world of instant gratification.

  1. Write more handwritten thank you notes.

Raise your hand if you feel delighted when you see a greeting card-sized envelope in the stack of bills and junk mail, especially if it is handwritten. Handwritten notes take time and resources to create but are completely unexpected in a world of instant gratification. Include the people you write notes to as donors above a certain threshold, donors you have never spoken to on the phone, or that you know will never answer the phone. Test it out. You may be pleasantly surprised by the reactions you receive.

  1. Don’t write off the power of millennials. 

If you find out that the donor is relatively young, do not discredit their gift. Millennials (18-38) makeup almost 40% of the United States and are one of the most purpose-driven demographics. While they may not be major-gift potential (yet), they have the power of networking and inspiring grass-roots campaigns. They have jobs and may have the ability to influence a team of corporate volunteers, corporate sponsorships, and company grant money. Their small gift now could turn into a larger contribution of people, resources, and money over time. Millennials can be a powerful connector and ambassador for your mission.


ABOUT VICKI DAVIS | Connect with Vicki on Linkedin

Vicki Davis has been building a more connected, purpose-driven community for 15 years. She is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Twiggs & Co., a full service corporate social responsibility consulting firm. She is an expert relationship manager, passionate servant leader, and an exponential impact generator.


Related Topics: 
Fund Development
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