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How to Cause Your Donors to Feel Like Superheroes

By September 25, 2013April 25th, 2014Communication, Donor Engagement

Each year 50% or more of your donors will stop giving for reasons connected to “a failure to communicate;” according to Penelope Burk & Cygnus Research.

Study after study shows that number is growing.

If your donors are leaving because of something they are not hearing, feeling, or reading… the good news is: we can DO something about it.

So I ask you: Does your communication cause the people who give you their time, talent, “stuff” or money to feel totally awesome about giving?


Or do they receive “ho hum” thank you letters, occasional mentions in an annual report listing, and are continually invited to give more?

What to do to cause people to feel like a superhero?

It’s simple. Communicate with passion. Talk to them, not at them.

Here are five best practices from Jocelyn Harmon that are easy to adopt:

  • Be personal
  • Be tangible
  • Be creative
  • Be donor-centered
  • Be fast

The best place to start is with your thank you process.

Here is my own list of 7 ways to create a meaningful donor experience through donor acknowledgement:

  1. What is the timing of our donor thank you?
  2. WHO is signing the letter to so the reader feels special?
  3. How many times did we use the words you or your vs. we and us?
  4. Does the donor KNOW what we are able to do with their gift?
  5. What other methods of donor acknowledgement do we utilize for our top donors?
  6. What is one way we can be creative with our donor thank you process this year?
  7. What information will we share in between asks to have our donors feel connected tour work AND their impact?

Taking the time to think through your answers to these questions BEFORE the fall fundraising frenzy WILL increase your donor retention.

And yes, you’ll cause your donors to feel like the superheroes they truly are.

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