Five Things You Must Do At The Beginning of This Calendar Year #5 – How Well Did You Thank & Report Back To Your Donors?

thank you

“Thank you”, according to the dictionary, “is a conventional expression of gratitude”.  I would suppose that if I do not feel thankful or say the words, “thank you”, that I am not really grateful.

I have thought about this quite a bit.

Is feeling thankful a learned behavior or does it come naturally?  I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.  I know in my own life I have had to stop and think about all the good things that happen to me, THEN feel grateful, and then express thanks.

So, for me it does not come naturally.

I was out to dinner last night with some friends.  The food was delivered hot.  I thought, “That’s nice.  I appreciate it.”  I said thank you.  We received good service, my empty glass of water was filled repeatedly and quickly.  I said thank you.

But there have been many other situations where I did not experience gratefulness and therefore the words “thank you” did not leave my lips.  There was the taxi driver who got me to the airport quickly and efficiently,  the TSA agent at security who was helpful, the flight attendant who offered me more water, my wife who took over my share of dog sitting while I was gone, the cashier at the grocery store who quickly processed the groceries and sent me on my way, etc., etc.

So much of life – so many intersections with people in my life – can just pass me by without me stopping to feel thankful.

How are you doing in this area?  Of course it’s none of my business how you are doing personally. And, I guess it’s also none of my business how you are doing professionally either.  But Jeff and I are trying to be helpful here in your journey with donors.

So, on that subject, how well did you thank your donors and report back to them in 2012?  Sit with your caseload list and think about it.  Put yourself in each donor’s shoes and feel your treatment of them.  Was the experience a good one?

Or, are you like many MGOs and MGO managers we know who have a DOLLARS vs. donors orientation?  They are obsessed with getting the money into the bank and “when we get around to it we will take care of those donors”.

This dollars vs. donors mentality is pervasive in our industry.  And it is THE thing that will kill your organization if you let it continue.  It is the ultimate proof that you and your organization are not grateful.  What does a dollars focused organization/MGO look like?  Here’s a short list:

  1. More concern about banking the money than thanking the donor.  Every system to turn the money into useable cash is in place.  All the other systems of thanking and reporting back to the donor are either non-existent or in shambles.
  2. It is difficult to secure program results info.  This one always amazes me.  The donor gives the money, we use it to do the program, but then we forget where the money came from and don’t care about or spend the energy to report back to the source.  How does this happen?
  3. Less budget is spent on caring for donors.  So, we’ll spend a ton of money acquiring donors (and getting their money) but we will be cheap and stingy in caring for them after we have them.  It’s like really stepping up and doing everything possible to show the lady you’re dating that she is special and then, once you have her in your grasp, ignoring her.  Sound familiar?
  4. The MGO spends more time getting the donation than caring for the donor.  You know what I am talking about here, and I do to.  Frankly, you just get more of a buzz finally getting that $5,000 gift than you do in caring for the donor after she gave it. I know, I have been there.

But that is why I am asking you to look into your heart and examine your motivations in this area of gratitude.  How well did you do in 2012?  And what are you purposing to change in 2013 in this area?

For me, this is an intensely personal issue.

It is strictly about the subject of learning to become a more thankful person.

It is about being proactive in dealing with the arrogance and insecurity in my own psyche/emotions.

It is about understanding that there is hardly anything that I have or that I am, large or small, that hasn’t come to me because of what OTHERS have done for me.

It is about being truly thankful and expressing that thanks quickly and regularly in every area of my life.  It is about waking up in the morning and being thankful that I can still breathe, that I am healthy, that I am loved, and that I am fundamentally OK.

In my opinion, you need to get yourself into a mindset in which you think about your donors as the wonderful caring people that they are; people who have given a part of themselves to you and your organization to do good; people who trust you with their money and their hearts; people who really do need to HEAR your thanks and FEEL it as well.

Purpose, this year, to be a more thankful person with each of your donors.  It will do so much for them.  It will even do more for you.

Richard

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About Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry

Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry have over 55 years of experience fundraising for non-profits. Richard Perry was co-owner of Domain Group until 2005. Jeff Schreifels was a Senior Strategist for Domain Group for 12 years. They came together a few years ago to start Veritus Group, a full-service major gift fundraising agency. Veritus Group has a unique, data-driven approach unlike any agency focused on major gifts. Jeff and Richard are passionate about their work, passionate about life and hopes this blog will provide you with insights and tangible benefits for you and your work. Thank you for reading!
This entry was posted in Development Directors, Donor-Centered, Major Gift Officers, Major Gifts, Philanthopy, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Five Things You Must Do At The Beginning of This Calendar Year #5 – How Well Did You Thank & Report Back To Your Donors?

  1. Olivia says:

    I find for the for the most part I’m a pretty grateful person, and try to spend time each day in gratitude. Where I fall short is expressing that gratitude. In fact, that’s one of my resolutions this year — rather than just thinking how grateful I am for people, quickly jotting them a note and actually expressing that gratitude.

  2. Pingback: Trust the Process | Passionate Giving

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