10 Great Ways to Thank and Nurture Your Donors

 In Beyond Book Sales, Capital Campaigns, Fundraising

With year-end fundraising wrapped up, it’s time to thank your donors for supporting your library, Friends, and foundation. Although December may be your busiest fundraising month, these ten tips for recognizing your donors should be followed throughout the year. Properly thanking and honoring donors is a crucial step in fundraising. It helps strengthen relationships with supporters and improves the likelihood of continued support.

1. Send thank-you letters promptly (within forty-eight hours after receipt of a gift).
2. Send personal e-mails to individuals, conveying additional thanks for their gifts.
3. Take the time to make personal phone calls or to send handwritten, personal notes to your larger donors ($100 or higher and any new donors).
4. Get others involved in thanking people—your volunteer fund-raising team or your Friends or Foundation board members, for example.
5. Create donor recognition groups by giving level and by kinds of giving.
6. Recognize your donors in print—in your newsletter, annual report, or other publications.
7. Hold donor recognition events annually, and consider holding special donor-only events too.
8. Develop an idea for a special, meaningful gift you can present to your truly extraordinary donors.
9. Communicate with your donors on an ongoing basis. Don’t let your only communication with them be a letter requesting a donation!
10. Be consistently on the lookout for creative, new ways to thank, honor, and recognize your donors.

After you’ve thanked and honored your donors, you hope they will feel valued and appreciated. What more do you need to do? To nurture means to care for, and caring for your donors goes beyond thanking and honoring. It means demonstrating that their relationships with your library matter as much as their financial support. The process of nurturing donors is a kind of stewardship, the responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. Inherent in nurturing and stewardship is the goal of moving your donors into a deeper relationship with your library and, consequently, into deeper levels of support. Effective nurturing and stewardship help motivate your faithful donors to give annual gifts, tribute and memorial gifts, major gifts, and planned gifts.

The key to nurturing your donors is to look for ways to have ongoing contact with them that does not involve asking for support. In other words, create opportunities for “non-ask contacts.”

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This is an excerpt from our book Beyond Book Sales: The Complete Guide to Raising Real Money for Your Library. Learn more about our book and how you can take your library fundraising to the next level, Beyond Book Sales!

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