Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter

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December 14, 2018

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Smart Fundraisers Know and Love their Donors

by Marte Cliff

Do you know who your donors are? Do you know how much they gave last time? Do you know how much they've given over the years?

If you've got good record-keeping practices in place, you do know - and you tailor your messages to them accordingly.

Unfortunately, some small non-profits are not keeping track. They aren't even taking names or sending thank you notes, and that's a huge mistake. After all, if you take hard-earned dollars out of your pocket and give them away, don't you want to know that someone appreciated the fact? Most of us do.

The basic politeness factor aside, tracking donors and encouraging them to participate in your work will raise your revenues. Everyone wants to feel important, and when you not only thank your donors, but offer them ways to participate beyond monetary giving, you cater to that desire.

What can you do to encourage your donors to participate? Can you ask them to send a letter to their Senator? Can you ask them to attend an event? Can you ask them to talk to their friends and neighbors about your cause? Can you ask them to forward an email?

Whatever it is, you can't do it at all if you don't know who they are. If a check comes in and you merely deposit it without recording information about the donor, that person will probably not donate again. So there you are, constantly searching for new donors.

If, on the other hand, you send an immediate thank you, and follow that up with a letter or newsletter letting them know the good their money did, you'll make a friend. The next time you write an appeal you can thank them for past support and explain why you need them again.

The second reason for keeping track of donors and their giving amounts is so you can send an appropriate request. You can sort your donors into giving categories and tailor your appeal to their capabilities.

For instance, if you have a group of lower-income people who give what they can - and that consists of $5 or $10 every 2 or 3 months, you would not send a letter with a giving string beginning at $50. Conversely, if you have donors who give $100, $500, or $1000, you surely wouldn't want to include a giving string of $5 - $10 - $25 - $50.

Unless you keep records, how will you know which donor should receive which letter? But then, if you don't keep records, you have no one to mail to, so it doesn't matter.


copyright © 2007 Marte Cliff - reprinted with permission

About the Author:

Marte Cliff is a Freelance Copywriter who specializes in making people feel good about buying products or services - or donating to worthy causes.

She has extensive experience in writing search engine optimized web copy, direct sales letters, postcards, space ad copy, press releases, and more. She is also available for marketing plan creation and editing services.

You can visit her at

While you're there, sign up for her marketing ezine - or just send a blank email to:

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