Over here, you’ve got a pile of donations. You sent each of these donors a thank-you letter, on letterhead, signed by your Executive Director, within a week of when you received their gift. But you haven’t been in touch with any of them personally since then.
And over there, you have your Board of Directors. Several of them have said, “I love this organization. I’ll do anything for this organization–except ask for money. I’m just no good at asking.”
Do you want to make your donors feel flattered and your directors feel useful, all at the same time? Then ask your Board of Directors to start saying thanks.
Donors and Your Board, A Match Made in Heaven
Every thank-you matters, but an expression of gratitude from a Board member to a donor matters more. No matter how sincere you are, when you, a staff person at a nonprofit, says thanks, the thought crosses the donor’s mind: “I’m paying your salary.” When a member of your Board of Directors is the one thanking the donor, they have these advantages:
- They are volunteers. They’re regular people who care about the organization enough to give their precious time.
- They are donors themselves. When Board members make a monetary contribution, of whatever size is significant for them, they can talk with fellow donors about why the organization matters “to both of us.”
- They are leaders. It’s impressive when someone who holds a position of authority is the one making the call. It makes the donor feel valued and honored.
Getting thanked by a Board member helps donors think, “I made a good decision when I gave.” But it helps your Board of Directors, too. It confirms their own commitment to the organization…and it gives them valuable firsthand information about how their organization is perceived.
5 Ways a Board Member Can Say “Thank You!”
- Add a personal note to a thank-you letter. Especially if the donor knows the Board member, but even if they haven’t met…yet!
- Follow up with a phone call. Penelope Burk found that donors who got a call within 24 hours gave 39% more than those who simply received a thank-you letter…and check out Gail Perry’s story of how a thank-you call made her boyfriend a major donor for life.
- Throw a party. Maybe one of your Board members loves to entertain. Your staff have been meaning to hold a donor appreciation event for ages but never find the time. Ask the happy host or hostess to have the party at their place. (They will still need help inviting the donors to come, but it’s less work, for more return, than if staff do it.)
- Send a gift. Who’s the shop-a-holic on your Board? Ask her to pick out a small but thoughtful gift personalized to your donor, wrap it, and mail it with a note. Your donor will be surprised (and maybe make a new friend for life).
- Tell the world. Someone on your Board is on social media all day. Chances are you can figure out who it is–if you don’t know already! Ask that Facebook fanatic to “friend” a donor and then sing his or her praises online. Not only will you be thanking the donor all over again, you’ll be making the donor’s friends ask, “What’s that organization that loves my friend like that?”
If you ask a member of your Board of Directors to thank donors by doing something he or she likes to do anyway, you will have a happy Board, a happy donor base…and a happy result the next time you ask for money!
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