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Donor stewardship is a crucial part of fundraising, and the most fundamental way to steward your donors is to acknowledge their gift. But when a nonprofit’s staff members are pulled in many directions, sometimes essentials like gift acknowledgments can get pushed aside.
Consider preparing a few different acknowledgments in addition to the standard one you use. You might create one for first-time donors that includes some welcome language. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project finds that the retention rate of new donors continues to drop, so it’s worth putting targeted effort into retaining your new donors. Similarly, you may want to have an acknowledgment template ready for recaptured donors (those who’ve renewed their support after not giving for an extended period of time, such as 18 months). And, it’s a good idea to prepare an acknowledgment template for donors who are soft-credited for recommending gifts to your organization through their donor-advised fund.
By targeting the content of your acknowledgments, you can strengthen donors’ connection to your organization. Having these acknowledgments prepared in advance will help you acknowledge gifts more efficiently, too.
Have you ever printed out a batch of acknowledgment letters only to realize they include the name of a past, rather than your current, board chair? Making that correction while you’re in the midst of processing gifts can really slow you down. Luckily, you can avoid these hiccups by reviewing your acknowledgment templates on a regular basis, such as quarterly, and updating the content as needed. If you’re using Little Green Light, simply set a recurring task for yourself to review your acknowledgment templates on a schedule that suits you.
You may be tempted to have a particular board member add a handwritten note to the acknowledgment letter of a donor. But if your board member happens to be away, don’t let that stop you from acknowledging the donor’s gift promptly. Go ahead and send the acknowledgment. You can send an additional note of thanks later once your board member has returned. Tip: LGL customers can add a related task to the gift record so this additional thank-you note doesn’t slip through the cracks.
Sending prompt and accurate acknowledgments is a fundamental aspect of fundraising. Be careful not to discount these acknowledgments as busy work. When you consider acknowledgments an important component of your donor stewardship strategy, you can use them to build and sustain a strong foundation with your donors.
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