Putting Thanks Back in Thanksgiving–And Your Donor Communications

If I never again hear the phrase, “now, more than ever,” I would be pleased. I understand why we use it, to convey urgency, but it is hackneyed. Was our mission not urgent before Covid19?

I am writing having just returned from a weekend of silence. With all that has happened this year, I find spending time in stillness necessary, and it’s particularly necessary if you want to go deeper in your donor communications and avoid stale messages.

You see, periods of extended silence offer us the opportunity to step out of the materialistic world and into the world of oneness. Both of these worlds exist, but most of us live in a world where separateness rules. That’s the world that can’t express gratitude in a deep way that reaches those we love. And if you write from that dualistic world, your words will fall short.

Do You Love Your Donors?

Let me ask you a critical question. Do you love your donors? If you do, then you must find fresh and genuine ways to express gratitude to them.

If you’re not sure if you love your donors, then I invite you to ponder the question. You may find “love” a bit of a mushy word, a stretch. Yet the word “philanthropist,” which your donors are when they donate to you, means “love of humanity.” So, yes, find room in your heart to love your donors.

A Few Suggestions

I always take time in silence before I draft an appeal letter. 25-minutes usually does the trick.

When in silence, my usual fundraiser’s agenda about how to connect with my donors comes to mind. I watch the thoughts come and go, avoiding clinging to them, avoiding resisting them. Instead, I observe and keep slowly breathing through my nose, eyes open but cast downward, mouth gently closed, jaws at ease, not clenched.

After the silence, I ask myself, what do I want the donor to feel? What can I say to foster that feeling? And then I start writing, allowing myself the freedom to not have it be perfect the first time.

I often add to my process one or two phone interviews with a client, a staff member or a volunteer, asking them their view of our nonprofit’s work at that time.

These steps bring liveliness and freshness to my donor appeals, thank-you letters, and emails that would otherwise be lacking. And that correspondence usually raises more.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

I thank you for being part of LAPA’s growing “higher-profit” community. I hope our work has been helpful in your life during this challenging year, and we are so grateful for your partnership. 

We welcome your comments about this post on the LAPA blog.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Posts

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

GivingTuesday 2022 is coming up, Tuesday, November 29th, and it’s a banner day for many nonprofits. Some use it to launch their year-end campaign. No other day creates the same worldwide feeling of philanthropy and good will. Often stylized as #GivingTuesday for the purposes of hashtag activism, GivingTuesday occurs on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s touted as a “global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.” Perhaps these LAPA blog resources will help you harness the power of GivingTuesday: GivingTuesday: You Have A Decision To Make Countdown

Read More »
Giving

Year-End Giving

Year-End Giving
You never hear people say, “I know when I am.”  But it’s often useful to know where you stand in a temporal sense.  From a fundraiser’s point of view, it’s important to know where you are timewise  when we approach the end of the year.  One of out of every three dollars contributed to nonprofit organizations is donated in the month of December alone!

Read More »

Donors Drop By 7% But Dollars Up 6.2%, Buoyed By Major Donors

U.S. charitable giving increased significantly in Q2 2022, but gains were accompanied by a continuing steep decline in donor acquisition and retention, particularly among new and newly retained donors, according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s (FEP) Second Quarter Fundraising Report. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) is a collaboration among fundraising data providers, researchers, analysts, associations, and consultants to empower the sector to track and evaluate trends in giving. The project offers one of the only views of the current year’s fundraising data in aggregate to provide the most recent trends for guiding nonprofit fundraising and donor engagement. The FEP releases

Read More »