Donor Welcome Kits: Like a Warm Loaf of Homemade Bread

A few weeks ago, Russell, my husband, and I visited a new church. As we were leaving the church, a church member gave us with a loaf of homemade bread.

What a nice welcome gift--nourishing, tasty, symbolic, thoughtful. It also served as an ice-breaker. Someone walked up to us and handed us the bread and struck up a conversation. This church did a great job of extending hospitality. We felt welcome.

That's what you want your donor to feel—like you've just handed them a loaf of warm, homemade bread and told them you are really glad they showed up on a cold, rainy Sunday morning.

Round-up: Advice on Thank You Notes Just in Time for Wednesday

Round-up: Advice on Thank You Notes Just in Time for Wednesday

After #GivingTuesday comes #ThankUNoteWed. To honor the occasion, I thought I'd round-up some good tips, advice, examples, and suggestions to help you on your way. While there are lots of great ideas and suggestions, the two most critical pieces of advice are to acknowledge gifts promptly and personally.

The More You Raise The Better You Raise

With the publication of the 2015 Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), many of us have reflected on the continued bad news about donor retention rates and what to be done about those. I notice within the FEP report, a really interesting fact that I think we, as fundraisers, should unpack.  The more you raise, the more you raise.

This might sound tautological.  Maybe it is.  But maybe it isn’t.

The report notes:

  • Those organizations that raise less than $100,000/year actually lose money (when their donor losses are reflected): - 7.8%
  • Those organizations that raise more than $100,000 but less than $500,000 actually have a growth rate of 3.1%.
  • Those organizations that raise more than $500,000 are the most efficient fundraisers. Their growth rate is 10.4%.

Are Our Hiring Practices Following Our Fundraising Goals?

Are Our Hiring Practices Following Our Fundraising Goals?

For the last several years, the idea of donor retention has been much discussed.  Thought leaders like Adrian SargeantPenelope BurkJay Love and so many others including those associated with the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, have urged us to improve our stewardship practices telling us that donor attrition will rates will never improve if we don’t continue to improve our stewardship practices.  As a result, we’ve all worked harder to acknowledge gifts in a more timely fashion, more sincerely, and more creatively with mixed results.  We’ve also worked to be more creative and faithful about reporting back to our donors about the impact of their gifts, again, with mixed results.  Reports on our practices continue to find uneven practices with some of us acknowledging gifts swiftly, others slowly, and still others, not at all.

In the years that we have spent talking about donor stewardship and its importance for donor retention, little seems to have changed.  In fact, if anything, donor retention rates have continued their downward spiral and the problem has gotten worse.  

Why has it been so difficult to make head-way on this problem? Why has it been so hard to turn the ship around on these issues? 

The Thank You Season

The Thank You Season

Thanking donors well is critical to donor retention.  According to donor communications expert Tom Ahern donors that are appropriately thanked in a personalized way within 48 hours of receiving their gift are more than twice as likely to give again.

Feel like your thank you ideas are stale?  Here are 8 inexpensive and creative solutions--