Talk about lousy donor recognition. We recently heard of a nonprofit that mailed out its annual report with a notice inside that read, “In an effort to keep our costs low and use our resources to provide more food, we have reduced the size of our Annual Report. Please go to our website for a list of donors, volunteers and community partners.”
Not So Smart
Now come on, how can you make this mistake? This type of thinking is a common form of scarcity mentality that many nonprofits have to shake off!
At a time when donations are down, the last thing you want to do is downplay donor recognition. In fact, you should expand and enlarge it and do even more than you have in the past. If you want to cut down on printing costs, make your donors go play fetch online to see your financial statements and pie charts, but definitely not their recognition. Donors want to see their names and photos in print, and they want others to see their names and photos in print, too. They want to be recognized and acknowledged.
Recognition is the cheapest form of currency, yet it often gets a better return on investment than any other. It is critical for a nonprofit to recognize its donors, often, both publicly and privately.
Your Donor Recognition Action Plan
Like I said, donor recognition is essential. So are donor stories. Take a little time to call a few donors to say hello. Ask why they love and support your organization. Take notes using this interview form (MS Word Document) and write up their story and publish it on your planned giving website. In fact, there are several other planned giving resources on this page as well, including the 25 documents to have in place before leaving this earth.
By the way, you’d be surprised how many will say yes to your request for their stories. Be prepared: some may keep you on the phone the entire day!
Here are a few conversation starters (PDF) that will help break the ice and get your conversation going.