[Strategies for Success - Smart fundraising ideas from Kinetic]

The Power of Thank You

image“Thank you.” These two little words can make or break a campaign. It can mean the difference between receiving a one-time-and-only gift or developing a deeper relationship with a donor who can leave a legacy gift of significance.

Too often, a donor who supports a campaign for the first time – no matter how big or small the gift – will not give again for two key reasons. One: They are not asked again. Or, two: They are not thanked well or at all.

Donor appreciation is an integral part of any development plan. To properly thank and appreciate your donors, keep these things in mind:

Create policies and stick with them
A proper donor recognition/appreciation policy or plan should be created and kept available for reference for anyone, volunteer or staff, doing fundraising for your organization. Make sure everyone understands how important it is to follow through on the organization’s policies and make sure follow up is taking place.

Make it personal
Not all donors like to be thanked the same way. Some may have an interest in a naming opportunity for a major gift. Others may want to remain anonymous, but still want to hear, “Thank you.” For many, a personal handwritten thank you or phone call is very special and appreciated. As you cultivate your donor prospects and get to know them as individuals, this is something you need to learn about them.

Involve your constituency
While giving the donor a plaque or certificate they can display may be appropriate for certain situations, many times these gestures mean less to a donor coming from the organization as from a constituent. Consider the individuals you serve and facilitate opportunities for them to say thanks. A note from a student affected by a scholarship, a picture created with painted handprints of the children you serve, a success story from a family that has been impacted positively by the organization. These will mean more to donors than a hundred plaques.

Saying thank you – in a way that means something personally to your donors – is not only an important part of fundraising, it may be one of the most valuable of all.

Ross Pfannenstiel, Senior Vice President, Kansas City

logoJoin Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour

Next stops on the road to achieving Kinetic’s mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:

Bergen, Norway
June 18-19, 2018
NHH – Norwegian School of Economics
John List

Taipei, Taiwan
June 21-22, 2018
National Taiwan University
John List

Canberra, Australia
June 25-26, 2018
BX2018, Australian Government
Keynote: John List

July 3, 2018

Institute of Fundraising Convention 2018
Adrian Sargeant
Jen Shang
Panelist: Karin Cox

Richmond, Va.
July 18-19, 2018

2018 Virginia Fund Raising Institute Conference
Successful Campaigns: Raising Million-Dollar Gifts
Karin Cox
John Warren
Lead Sponsor: Hartsook

Clayton, Australia
August 13-24, 2018
Monash University
John List

Washington, D.C.
August 29-31, 2018
Boy Scouts of America Top Hands

September 19-20, 2018
Science of Philanthropy Institute Conference 2018
John List

Kansas City
September 26-29, 2018
American Association for State and Local History Annual Meeting
Donor-Focused Fundraising: Letting Research Guide Your Organization’s Philanthropy
Matthew J. Beem
Debbie Bass, National WWI Museum and Memorial

Boston, Mass.
October 5-6, 2018
Boston University
Advances with Field Experiments
John List

Basel, Switzerland
October 16-18, 2018
University of Basel
8th Bernoulli Lecture for the Behavioral Sciences
John List

Past Stops on the Tour

Resources for Smart Fundraising Available on Kindle

Keep up to date on the latest fundraising trends with the Kindle ASR Media collection:

  • Fundraising Leadership – The definitive source for empowering board members to become pro-active fundraising leaders by Karin L. Cox
  • Performance-Driven Fundraising – Handy, yet entertaining reference tool for new and seasoned fundraisers by Matthew J. Beem


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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, kcox@kineticfundraising.com. If you’d like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, Philanthropy Success, contact info@kineticfundraising.com.