If Your Top Donors Forgot to Make a Gift, They Would Feel Terrible

Dec 18, 2018Donors

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It is that time of year! Your fundraising goal is in view. You are missing some major gifts from some very dear donors.

What do you do?

Where should you spend your time over the next couple of weeks?

Here are 4 actions steps you need to take right now to reach your goal:

1.   Identify your top donors who you have not received a gift from this year.

These are people and companies who already believe in your mission and have said it with a gift in the past. 

Look at when they usually make their gift. I had several board members who always made their gift the last few days of the year. It made me anxious! What if they forgot? These were some of our larger individual gifts.

Donors probably have the response card you mailed to them sitting on their desk. They plan to donate!

2.   Give the list of top (20+) donors a nudge. You should have a strong relationship with this list of people.

Drop by to see them face-to-face. Have something to share with them — a handmade gift created by students benefiting from a program, a special card from seniors being served, or an article of interest.

With each donor visit,

·      Share how much you appreciate their past support. Show genuine gratitude for their gifts.

·      Provide an update of your organization’s impact on solving the problem. Share how much more there is to tackle.

·      Ask if you can count on them again this year.

·      Ask for a specific amount – consider asking for more than they gave last year.

·      Thank your donors for their support.

Your purpose is to remind the donor why they give each year. Reconnect them with your mission. Donors don’t think about your nonprofit’s work day in and day out like you do. Remind them of the impact.

Let me give you a big clue: These individuals know why you are coming to see them. They know it is year-end and you represent the nonprofit they have supported in the past. They expect you to ask them for support. You look weak if you don’t get to the point of asking them for money. Don’t stammer.

If a visit is not possible, you can have a meaningful conversation over the phone. The main thing is that you take action. Seek support from those who already know that your nonprofit is a good investment. You have been stewarding and loving them all year. They are ready to be approached.

3.   Respond within 24 hours with a personal thank you note for their gift. It is important to respond quickly. It shows how much you value their gift.

4.   Send email reminders to all donors, including these top 20+ donors who have not sent a gift this year.

Can you imagine if your top donors just completely forgot to make a donation this year? They would feel terrible. They want to help your organization. Help them at this busy time of the year by reminding them to give.

Comments: Please tell me some creative ways you are approaching outstanding major gift donors at year’s end.

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising guide. She provides overwhelmed nonprofit leaders with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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