Let's Raise Some Money
Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

Call Donors To Ask Them About Listing Their Name

December 18th, 2013 by Karen Climer

If your fiscal year is the calendar year, you have probably started working on your annual report.  I have put together dozens of annual reports and looked at hundreds of them.  Some list all of the donors.  Some list donors over a certain amount.  Some list a certain type of donor such as corporate donors or foundation donors.

I don’t want to talk about the merits of publishing names vs. not publishing names – that’s a different post.  I’m going to talk about what to do if you have already decided to publish names.

First, if you are going to publish donor names – include all of the donors.  Don’t list only corporate donors or only individual donors or any other category.  Publish everyone.  Ditto for gift amounts.  The person that gives $10 is just as valuable as the person that gives $10,000.  If you are listing donors, list all of the donors.

Second, use this as a cultivation opportunity.  Jerry Panas suggests that you call every single donor to verify the spelling of the name.  Call them on the phone – don’t send an email – and say, “This gives me another chance to thank you for caring about East Cupcake Preparatory School.  Your gift means a great deal to us and to our students.”

Is it a lot of work to call every single donor?  Absolutely.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely.  Divide it up among the staff.  If the staff is too busy, involve your volunteers.  The phone call to donors about the donor list is a thousand times more important than the donor list.

Too many fundraisers don’t call donors enough because they overestimate the time it takes and underestimate the effect it has on fundraising.

Posted in Acknowledgment, Cultivation

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