If you work as a fundraiser in a charity December has an added dimension. This month can fly by in blur. All of your revenue channels are extremely active and suddenly your donors are ringing with special requests to be processed before year end. This is good. You should be busy at this time of year. Raising less money or being less busy simply isn’t an option when you are working to improve lives for people, animals and the environment.
Brilliant! You are of course right. I was worried about the new donors.
Acquisition is a big investment and it is very VERY exciting when the mail arrives. When I see new donors signing up I feel like Sally Field when she won the Oscar – “You like me; right now you really like me!” (Well, not me of course but you know what I mean)
I especially like the donations of $2.00 and $5.00 in cash that come in. So what is the concern?
You are so smart. That’s right – fast forward to the second gift. “Right now” they like us…what about three months from now? In order to build a strong base of support we must secure a second gift. And how do we do that? We need to earn it.
First time donors need to know that their donation to your organization was a good decision. They need to know we value them. They need to know their gift made a difference about something they care about. We must tell them these things and we must do it quickly.
It is so easy to write about best practices in isolation. It is far more difficult to implement them in a hectic and small fundraising shop. The perfect welcome pack and thank you letter looks easy in a blog post or in an exhibit on the beloved SOFII. But when you add implementing good stewardship practices to a complex mix of activities at such a busy time of year, even the simplest things can be onerous. Can seem impossible.
Implementing best stewardship practices in the trenches of a busy small fundraising shop in December is not easy. Still, I would argue that good stewardship is even more important in smaller organizations since we don’t have the large churn of donors that mega organizations have.
So what is the solution?
Ask for help.
As far as I’m concerned anyone in the organization can thank a donor. So, this is a shout out to the awesome stewardship team that I work with. Thank you for making time to go above and beyond your job description for our donors. Thank you for helping spread a culture of philanthropy throughout our organization. Thank you all for helping us to EARN that second gift.
I think there are times when we need to put the idea of “best practice” aside and just do what we can today to let our donors know they are truly appreciated and that their donation is important. I believe, this is how we will earn that second gift.
What is your big challenge this month and how will your organization innovate in order to rise above it?
Merry Christmas and thank you for spending time here,