One thank you isn’t enough for a major fundraising effort


Think back to a time when you were engaged in a major fundraising effort, meeting with donors on a daily basis, sharing your vision for the future and inviting them to be a part of your organization’s success. With any luck, your supporters answered the call, you thanked them, and your initiatives and projects benefitted from their generosity.

How long ago was that? Beyond your initial thank-you, have you reached out to update donors on the progress of the projects they supported? Have you communicated the impact your donors’ gifts have made? If you haven’t practiced consistent follow-up, I invite you to consider the benefits of showing your gratitude on a regular basis.

The initial thank-you and gift acknowledgment is always appreciated and expected. It can serve as confirmation to donors that your organization has received and processed their gift. This is your first opportunity to share your sincere thanks. For many organizations, this is where displays of gratitude end.

I recommend additional communication to constituents beyond the immediate response. Within 12 months of their initial gift, send an email, a newsletter or even a hand-written letter to express your ongoing appreciation and to keep your donors up-to-date on the initiatives or projects they supported. Beyond the thank-you, it serves to keep your organization’s important issues in front of them.

Donors want to know their dollars are making a difference. Share milestones. Share updated visions. Share photographs. Share stories. If you can show people their contributions have impacted your mission, they’ll not only feel more connected, but they also may be inclined to continue their support.

If you have a fundraising effort with a multi-year pledge redemption period, I encourage you to keep in contact with donors and make sure they know how important they are to your organization throughout the entire pledge period. When you’re ready to ask for their support again, they’ll remember your constant state of gratitude.

I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions regarding best practices and the professional services of the Steier Group.

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