Practical Advice for Modern Fundraisers

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Blogging during Fundraising Day New York is both as pleasure and a challenge. The depth of the information and the pace at which it is delivered makes it hard to do each session justice. But I like getting my ideas and thoughts to you as soon as possible. So we will do our best.

Thought I'll be live blogging during the day I promise to go back through the-the blogs over the weekend. At that point, I'll be able to clarify ideas and clean up any pesky typos. Typos are inevitable when live blogging so I do hope you will understand. I feel it is better to get the idea out to you while it is fresh than to worry about you grabbing your red pen.

So I am off to breakfast and then my first session -


That was a great session! And the end of a great AFP for me. I'll be spending the last session working the NYU Heyman Center booth. I teach at NYU and they were kind enough to allow me to come to today on one of their passes. I do hope you got a taste of what Fundraising Day New York has to offer. I understand that next year it will be on June 23rd. I can't wait.

Gertrude Stein was right right right.

Repeating things makes them matter more. We mail to people multiple times asking them for donations. It is considered perfectly normal to mail an appeal and then "follow-up" a few weeks later. We may even ask for second or third gifts from our donors all in the same year. We subscribe to an "Asking" repeating model. But what about thanking donors?

When it comes to thanking donors for most organization's once per gift is enough - but is once enough? We have to provide every donor with an official letter noting the date and amount of their donation. Could we be doing more? I say yes, we ought to thank, thank, thank our donors. I subscribe to a "thanking repeating" model.

How does this work? Simple, I find every opportunity I can to thank donors before they make or renew their gift. Acknowledging previous contributions in solicitation letters, in an official thank you receipt letter and once a year in a general thank you that does not have an ask are all ways to thank your donors more than once.

I have even seen people use their social media to thank donors in mass. Social media posts do not have the same effect as a personal letter, but the post will let others know that you have donors and that you appreciate them.

Though it can be time-consuming, I try and write a handwritten note to every donor over a particular giving amount each year. If you write one or two a day, it makes it less of a burden. In fact, you can even get a volunteer to write a few letters from their perspective. The important thing is to thank, thank, thank your donors. Then you thoughtfully, follow a "thanking repeating" model.

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