Mar 31, 2010

How Many Donors Are You Calling to Thank?

At a panel I recently attended, the president of a Friends of the Library board explained that one of its ways of cultivating donors was to have a board or staff member personally call and thank everyone who'd made a contribution of $100 or above.

Not too surprisingly, he said that this goes over very well, even describing people as "thankful" for the call.

But this part's more surprising: He added that many of them say, "Yours is the first organization that's ever called me!"

To me, that indicates that a lot of organizations are missing the boat. Making thank-you calls to donors is easy, a perfect task for new or fundraising-averse board members, and doesn't cost much if anything to carry out.

Maybe some organizations make such calls to donors that have given amounts greater than $100 -- but why not lower the bar, especially during a recession, when even a $20 gift may be a big stretch for some? Creating this degree of personal contact with a donor may turn that person into a friend -- and contributor -- for life.