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Gratitude and Fundraising

When I did a google search for “gratitude and fundraising,” I got 25,500 results. I did another search without the quotation marks and got 16,000,000.

Apparently, there’s a lot to say on this topic. I’ve included links to three articles for those of you who would like to delve deeper into the subject.

So much is written and yet, I wonder how many of us, actually put it into action.

The one thing for you to remember from this month’s newsletter is that expressing gratitude to your donors should be the core of your development department.

I found the following quote on the John Templeton Foundation website:

Dr. Amrisha Vaish, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, says.

“Gratitude is what we experience when someone has been generous towards us in a meaningful way and feeling grateful motivates us to reciprocate towards that individual, thereby helping to maintain an ongoing, mutually beneficial cooperative interaction.”

Why should professional fundraisers demonstrate gratitude to our donors? Because we are grateful for their financial support. Because their dollars allow us to do the work we love and serve others in our community who need our help.

Our donors have demonstrated their support of our mission by giving their money and maybe even their time. Without donors how could we do our work? How could we serve those in public hospitals, after-school programs, art programs or shelters for the abused and unhoused?

Gratitude costs us nothing but a time: time to make that phone call, send that email, or write that note. Lack of gratitude costs us donors.

Donors who feel appreciated will share the good news about your organization. Donors who don’t feel appreciated could share their negative feelings. Gratitude should be central to your donor communications, including phone calls and personal visits.

Expressing your gratitude to your donors takes time and effort. But as a professional fundraiser, that’s part of your job. It’s also your job to remind others within your organization (and sometimes train them how) to express their gratitude to donors.

Use your scheduled touch points to express your gratitude, thank your donors, and keep them informed. Treat your donors as you would like to be treated.  Or consider how you would like your parents and loved ones to be treated. With respect and kindness, right? That’s how you should always treat your donors: with respect and kindness.

Remember they are supporting your work, your mission, and your clients.

So, send them a birthday card and acknowledge other events or holidays that are significant to them. Let them know they are valued as important members of your organization’s “family”. Kindness, respect, and gratitude go a long way toward keeping a loyal supportive donor, keeping your doors open, and keeping your clients’ needs met.

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