Year End Strategy #1: Hold a Thankathon Before You Solicit Your Donors

Today marks the first of a series of posts on end of the calendar year fundraising strategies. During the month of October, I will be posting a great strategy idea each day. 31 days – 31 strategies – all designed to help you achieve your end of the year fundraising goals.

First, I’ll be discussing what you should do BEFORE you send your end of year solicitations.  Then we’ll move on to messaging and solicitation strategies especially designed for the rather unusual environment that we find ourselves in for fall 2009.

telephoneEnd of year strategy #1:  Hold a thankathon before you solicit your donors. If you really want to prep your donors for their end of calendar year annual solicitations, then thank them for their past gifts, involvement, support, help first.

Try holding a mass thank-you session. Bring in your board members, or your volunteers, staff or other donors. Get on the phone and call your donors to thank them for everything they have done to help the (children, students, elderly, poor, hungry, prisoners, sick etc).

Don’t thank them for helping your organization be successful. Instead thank them for the impact they are making in the world.

Remember, donors love to be thanked. And now, more than ever, you want to keep close, open communication channels with your donors. Calling them to thank them is fundamental; but it is also necessary if you want to keep your donors on your bandwagon.

This year, donors are making fewer gifts than usual. If you take the time to phone call and appreciate them BEFORE you send another solicitation, they are much more likely to keep your organization on their short list of favored causes.  It makes them remember your cause when your appeal comes in the mail next month.  You will be higher on their radar screen.

And of course, donors always need to be treated like real people rather than wallets or ATM machines.  It certainly makes them feel special then they are thanked personally – especially without a solicitation coupled with the thank you letter.

This is a great place to use your board members.  Studies show that when board members thank donors, their future gifts are larger.  And if your board members are nervous about getting involved in fundraising, you can warm them up to fundraising by having them thank donors.