An easy and meaningful way to get the board involved in organization fundraising is by giving them the MOST fun part of our jobs – thanking donors!
But you don’t want to just let the Board go bananas with a bunch of donor contacts so it’s best to give them some guidelines (notice we didn’t say script) so they can connect with donors in a meaningful way.
The best place to start is by having a conversation with your board members about why thanking donors is meaningful to your organization. Try these two stats on for size:
- 23% of donors say that the quality of the thank you letter inspired them to give again (Source: 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study)
- Research has shown that first-time donors who receive a personal thank-you within 48 hours are four times more likely to give again. (Tom Ahern on the Candid blog)
Convinced? Have your board members peek at your most recent donor list to flag anyone they personally or professionally know (even just a little bit!) and then get them started with a few warm-up calls using the guidelines below.
Guidelines for donor thank you calls
Be very clear with your board members that this call is not to ask people for money but serves to build a relationship.
Open with a thank you
Start by saying your donor’s name and then introducing yourself.
“Hi Maria, this is Don Washington and I am calling to thank you.”
Pause for the person to say “for what” or to give them an opportunity to realize this is not a sales call.
“I’m on the Board of Directors at XXXX Organization and we are incredibly grateful for your gift, especially in a year like this one.”
Pause for the person to say you’re welcome
“May I ask you what inspired you to give?”
Let the donor talk for as long as they want. Take a few notes if you can. Ask a follow-up question!
Thank them and open the door for more:
“Thank you for sharing that with me. Your gift is helping us do X, Y, and Z this year. Let us know if you’d like to get more involved by volunteering, attending an event, or anything else”
Let them know you’ll stay in touch
We’ll keep in touch with you by email, but don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions.
Extra credit for follow-up
Send a follow-up email thanking them again and giving the appropriate staff person’s contact info.