The longest year is coming to a close, and it’s time for giving thanks in the midst of our sorrows and losses both large and small. We trust you will celebrate the official Thanksgiving holiday safely with your household and reach out to others via phone and video. Not quite what we are used to – but what better way to “thank” our neighbors and community than staying safely home.
There are two thanks-giving traditions that will continue. A new tradition, is Giving Tuesday which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (December 1st). It’s a day to make gifts to nonprofits you know and love – and to venture out with a gift to an organization you may not have supported before. Giving Tuesday began in 2012 and has become a global movement. In 2019 an impressive $511 million was raised online, and a total of $1.9 billion was raised in total when checks and other gifts were included. Your $10 or $100 or $1,000 gift makes a difference.
Saying “Thank You” to those who support your nonprofit is a longstanding tradition. These last weeks of the year are a pivotal time for fundraising as many nonprofits receive a majority of donations at yearend. Saying thank you ends this year, and it begins cultivation and solicitation for the coming year. It is also a way to stay close with those who gave last year but may not be able to give this year. Here are two tips to help with the nonprofit thank you process: these can help sustain and your giving cycle beyond this year.
Technology. Make sure you have an effective and functional donor management system. While small nonprofits may rely on spreadsheets for information about their donors, there are programs available that can automate your giving and thanking. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a personal touch, it just means you can use technology to learn who are your new donors, repeat donors, and who is making an unusually large gift. You can then quickly make thank you calls or – as appropriate – send a special thank you note or email.
Culture and Communication. Take time to create a culture of gratitude. Of course you want to thank your donors, but what about saying “thank you” when volunteers complete a task? Or when staff leave at days end? Are you “stingy” with your gratitude or are you comfortable freely giving thanks for those things (or gifts!) that you “expect?” The same with your communication: do you say “we sent out a newsletter last quarter, why do we have to do it again?” or, perhaps, “people can’t expect us to report on everything!” There’s no harm in telling your story and telling it often. Make it part of your culture.
Finally, for our nonprofit readers, it is not too late to get started with a Giving Tuesday program – or to enhance the program you used last year. Here is a tool-kit to use: https://bit.ly/3pLu57J.
Thank you to our readers! We enjoy writing for you!
[Copyright 2020 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Let us help you find your way through this unknown time. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com. ]