Thanking Donors – In Good Times and Bad

Five Keys to Successful Outreach

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Donors in a down economy are still your donors. If you don’t stay in touch, they will be someone else’s donor when things turn around!


Sure we can send thank you letter and auto responses from web-based giving, place their name on a donor recognition list, maybe send a birthday card.In this economy, we need to really reach out and keep the donors we have. Fundraising is like a marriage, in good times and in bad, we have to stick together. We need to be there for our donors – when they lose their job/home and when they find a new one.


Now is the time to increase communication with our folks. Making thank you calls feels good for everyone. Remember to smile when you call! They can hear it on the other end of the phone.

1.     Pull a donor list…Your pick, over $X, under $X whatever gives you a list to work with. Lapsed a couple months or a year.  Ask others in your organization to call too, staff and board. BRIEF script, bullet points are even better.

2.     Thank them for the generosity – No matter how long ago. (Okay those two were easy, right?)

3.     Have something to talk to them about – Remind them about an event coming up-Gala, a community event or press release, program update.

4.     Let them talk…they will tell you exactly what is going on – good, bad and ugly. Tinhis is an opportunity to see where they are.

·       If they are looking for work, offer to help. Can you network them somewhere, remind them of something, connect them to someone?

·       If they have time on their hands, would they like to volunteer? Make sure you have opportunities lined up and ready to go. Signem’ up, tell them you can’t wait to see them.

·       If all is good, congratulate them given the economy today. We should all be grateful. Ask if they want to volunteer anyway, coming to an event?               

5.       Close the call on an up note. If you promised something, email, mail get it to them…follow up.

When everything turns around, your calls will be remembered and appreciated. And you and the donor will feel good!

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