Jump Start 2011

The end of the year is coming up, and while you are focused on closing as many gifts as possible, consider how you can start the next year on the right foot.  One way is to make sure that before January 15th, every single donor to who made a contribution in 2010 gets a “round up receipt." What’s that?  It’s a way to remind your donors that you value what they do, make their life easy when they start pulling their tax information together, remind YOU who your donors are and generally be a good steward.

Over the years, I have spoken to many service organizations on How to Make Wise Charitable Choices.  One of the things I recommend is that they look at the business practices of the nonprofit.  For example, I say, “how many of you have made a charitable gift and never received a thank you?”

It doesn’t matter what group I speak with—at least ¼ of them raise their hands.  Well, raise is too genteel a word.  They wave, they practically jump up and down, wanting to tell me how awful all you nonprofits are because you don’t say thank you.

Now, I know that many of you actually do write thank you letters.  But months after the event, a simple thank you or receipt can fade from memory.  So remind them.  Send them a letter or a receipt that says, “Thank you for your support in 2011.”  Then list the gifts they gave, the tickets for events that they bought, any volunteer service.  Put the appropriate tax information for each item if there is more than one.

And use this well.  Tell them about some of the exciting, wonderful, heartwarming things your organization was able to accomplish in 2010 because of donors like them.  And then tell them what you hope to do in 2011 if you can continue to count on their support.

This is such an easy thing to do, and I promise, it will bring you a tremendous return.

Janet Levine is a consultant, trainer and author who works with nonprofit and educational organizations helping them to increase their capacity and better serve their communities.  Learn how she can help you and your organization improve your results at http://janetlevineconsulting.com