I’m taking a keyword from Steven Shattuck’s blog post about #GivingTuesday… but I changed it a bit from #ThankINGThursday to #ThankfulThursday, so that makes it okay, right? He brought great insight about one thing that fundraisers simply do not do well right now… retain donors.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying ALL fundraisers are bad at donor retention, but check this out… another thing I’m stealing from Steven is his slide about a survey done with Bloomerang.

Less than 45% of fundraisers even KNOW their retention rate at their given organization. That’s a striking figure.
Every donor has their own preference on how they want to be thanked, on how they want to be stewarded, and how they want to be talked to. This causes fear in many fundraisers minds. If I were to run a survey of fundraisers about what fears they have, I would venture to guess that “upsetting a donor” is at the top. Here is my suggestion…

Don’t be afraid of upsetting your donors.

It’s as clear as that. This fear paralyzes development departments. A trusting and loyal donor will understand honest mistakes such as (1) sending a tad too much direct mail, (2) giving one too many asks via email blast, (3) putting “Thomas” on an envelope when they go by “Tom”, and things like this. If a donor explains that they will NEVER give to your organization again because you sent one too many thank you’s, then I’d guess they weren’t going to give to your organization again anyway.

Here’s the one fear you SHOULD have… NOT LISTENING.

When the donor explains to you that they believe you are over mailing, over asking, or spelling their name incorrectly… fix it. Right then and there, your donor will feel as if they are valued because you understood you made a mistake, you listened to what they had to say, and you acted on it.

So… let’s thank away today on #ThankfulThursday. Let’s steward and act how we believe is right for our donors, and if we make an honest mistake, let’s be sure to fix it! Let’s stop being afraid of upsetting our donors because you never know when you will be able to make a second ask on the phone with a donor who originally called to complain about getting too much mail.

What is your biggest fear as a fundraiser? How do you overcome it?

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FQHC & Homelessness Advocate. Coach. Bartender. I am always learning something new ABOUT social media, and I am always learning something new while I am ON social media. Life is busy, but I still make time to write about the topics I am passionate about. My passions aim at ending homelessness and increasing health care access to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured residents of Indianapolis. My posts touch on a lot of different subjects ranging from the use of social media in advocacy, to the obstacles facing those who need better access to care, and to current events in Indianapolis! I am a millennial who is likes to blog about millennial engagement in advocacy movements, social change, and non-profits. Continually learning about social media, this blog site helps me to sort through my thoughts and discuss with others who have gone through or are just now going through the same experiences as I am.

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