Thanking Donors

All donors deserve recognition for they support they give, some though need another level of acknowledgement.

Most organizations seem to think the same thank-you is sufficient no matter the level of support received from donors, but this could be the wrong way to think.

The thank-you in a standard receipt will be seen by some donors as enough to keep them giving, and yes, organizations think this too.

But what if you changed your thank-you for various levels of support, could this help you retain donors and potential increase the level of support you receive?

In general, yes, support could improve, the amount some give could increase, it could also help improve how long donors stay with you.

As said before in It’s Not Horses for Courses – it’s important to tailor your communications to the various segments of your donor base, don’t use the same “speak” for everyone. And, it’s true too in how you thank your donors.

Some organizations will send a simple receipt, thanking donors for their support, while also saying what they have achieved previously and what the latest support will enable it to do.

Others will be selective in who receives what kind of thank-you; with some sending a certificate of appreciation and for higher levels perhaps a gift of some sort.

You need to see what works for your organization, and monitor feedback from donors; bearing in mind some donors may see the production of a cerificate as wastage, and others receiving a gift see that too as a waste of resources.

If you’re getting negative feedback, use this as an opportunity to talk with donors about what they would like you to do to say thank you.

There’s some organizations using video as a thank you message to donors, this can be really effective, timing is important, do you do the video at the end of the campaign, or during the course of it. I’d suggest taking into account that doing a video thank you during the campaign could help gain further support.

If you do a video thank-you, tie it into the work your organization does, use people who your organization supports if possible. Video can be a very powerful medium to use and, you don’t need state of the art equipment, even a reasonable quality mobile phone can produce video at a good enough quality to publish and share with supporters. (Who knows, maybe one of your supporters may offer to do future videos as another way they can support your work.)

Whatever means of thank-you you adopt, as said above, monitor it, and adapt it as needed, don’t do the same thing year in year out, this will become boring and people receiving the thank-you could switch off and not read/see any other message you have in the thank-you.

So, is it a thank-you receipt, certificate or video? It’s up to you, give it a try, you have nothing to lose, even try it for a short time; donors deserve your thanks.

What’s Happening – are You Watching?

Do the Board, Trustees of your organisation monitor, or at the very least notice when other organisations working in the same area are doing something … e.g. Do they notice whats being said in the news, in advertisements (radio, TV) or on billboards?

If they’re not, how can they know what they’re up against?
All staff, it doesn’t matter where they are in an organisation, shoulf be aware of what’s happening, it’s almost a responsibility.

Market intelligence is important, no matter if you’re a non-profit, charity or a commercial entity.

Knowing what others are doing will help regig, defer or cancel a planned campaign. No two organisations can be running the same type of campaign, at the same time, and expect great results; so it’s important to know what others are doing. If you don’t know, you could be running the risk of wasting resources, time, money and yes, energy; energy that could you could be putting into something to counter what others are doing.

Large organisations may have the resources to expend on media monitoring, but smaller ones simply can’t. And, that’s where instilling in all staff the importance for them to bring attention to anything other organisations may be doing that could have an impact.

Do you, or does the organisation you work with monitor what others are
doing? If not, why not?

Who holds the keys to change?

Getting change to occur in any organisation is difficult. Often it seems even more so in the NFP/charity sector. We explore some of the reasons why and seek to answer the question; “Who holds the most effective keys to facilitating change.”

If you’re involved in the charity/non-profit sector, this piece by Craig Fisher of RSM Hayes Audit is worth a read.


We all know the truism that “change is constant”.  And it is.  However in many organisations, being able to instigate change, or effectively respond to change, is often very difficult.  Generally the barrier to change is not the nature of the changes needed, but rather the emotional or human barriers to accepting the need and then moving to doing something about it.

Interestingly this situation is usually more pronounced in NFP organisations than it is in For-Profit organisations.   This is understandable when you consider some of the key differences between the two types of organisations.  This includes that most For-Profit organisations are generally more command and control in operational style, and more binary in their decision making, i.e. the driver for most decisions are: Will this make us more money – yes or no?

NFPs by contrast are commonly much softer in governance and management style because they often involve elements of volunteering and social motivation, as well as being driven more by service delivery rather than a single minded financial profit driver like the majority of For-Profit businesses.

Sadly however this can translate into NFPs being much more inefficient in how they do what they do, and much more resistant to change.  By not being forced to innovate as much as many For-Profit entities they can become flabby and inefficient.  Conversely, some NFPs are too lean, such that innovation is unable to flourish through lack of skills, time and resources.

Ironically though given the above, in times of financial crises or stress it is usually NFPs that will survive, or survive longer than many For-Profits.  Even though they don’t have the same single minded focus on their financial bottom line and financial sustainability, when times get tough their key stakeholders will generally support them “just enough” so they can struggle on.  Whereas by contrast, the situation for companies is much more binary; they either make enough money to stay in business or they go out of business.

Related to the above is the concept that; starvation often forces innovation.  And those that don’t innovate generally decline.

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