By: Katie Kinder DeBauche, Associate
“It’s almost the end of the year! When is the end of the year appeal going to be in mailboxes?” How often have you heard this from board members and other stakeholders; volunteers and staff; or even clients? It’s that time again – the end of the year fundraising push – now known as “Giving Season” and it arrives earlier and earlier each year.
As you’re reading this, you, too, may be putting together your end of the year appeal to close the budget, better serve existing clients, or meet the ever-growing needs in your community. The year-end appeal mailing is the best bang for your buck – a one size fits all approach to fundraising with the goal of maximizing your time and energy and yielding greater philanthropic returns. This year, I hope you will also consider the importance of gratitude in building meaningful connections with individual donors who have buoyed us through this prolonged pandemic and have been with us even before these trying times.
Earnest and honest gratitude is philanthropy’s best kept secret. Building relationships with individual donors is key to our important work to advance philanthropy. We know we need to express thanks, gratitude, and recognition to our donors. And you know this too, of course. But do you actually do it? If not, here are two easy places to start.
But does this work? I know it sounds simple, but I have a simple answer for you: yes, it works. I once worked at a non-profit organization where a single thank you call from a donor giving a transactional gift once a year transformed into a major gift the next year. The following year, they were one of the largest individual donors to the organization. And get this – I never actually met this person in person and it was pre-pandemic. It started with earnest and honest gratitude.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I challenge you to begin this critical work to build relationships from a place of gratitude.