As fundraisers continue to review prospect lists and plot strategy with the year-end giving season approaching, let’s remember to give thanks by taking the time to say thank you to our donors.
Some of the most successful donor encounters I have experienced came from a phone call or appointment that was made just to say thank you.
Early in my career, serving as a new director of development for a small arts organization, I decided to make thank-you calls after the annual fund drive to some past donors who were identified as having more capacity than their recent gifts would indicate.
I called one former board member, famous for her critical commentary and high standards. She was considered to be one of the most important donors in the arts community.
I was actually surprised when she answered her own phone.
I nervously introduced myself, thanked her for her past support, and a longer conversation ensued.
Her questions about the organization were direct, and as I did my best to satisfy her with my answers, the conversation eventually became friendly and her voice softened.
The next week she made a surprise visit to the organization. And within a month, I was informed she was coming back on the board and going to head a strategic planning effort. The whole board was energized by the woman’s expertise, enthusiasm and direct line of communication. Her renewed engagement created a series of healthy changes in the organization that had long-lasting effects.
A couple months later, another gift from the now active donor arrived. This time it was 10 times the last gift amount. And, again, I called to say thank you.