Closing the Loop with Givers
We believe that charitable giving is fundamentally emotional and relational. We give based on our personal passions. We give to causes close to home. And we give where our friends are giving so that we can be part of a movement that is bigger than ourselves.
Because generosity is based on an ongoing connection with givers, what happens after a gift is made is even more important than what happens beforehand. It is essential to close the loop — to check in, follow up, and say thanks.
If the goal of fundraising is simply to “get the sale” and cash the check, then efforts to close the loop with givers would understandably be an afterthought. But if your goal is to sweep others up into the cause and equip them to participate, then closing the loop is nothing short of mission critical.
With that in mind, here are a few simple ways to show our appreciation:
- Thank givers for more than just financial gifts. Signing up for an email list, identifying with your organization on Facebook, or showing up to an event are all ways of taking a stand with your organization. When people take these steps, thank them eagerly and sincerely.
- Thank givers right away. Do everything you can to say thanks as quickly as possible. Yes, there’s sometimes value in waiting to send a receipt in order to get another response. But keep in mind that thanking a giver promptly communicates volumes about your organization. Don’t overlook it.
- Thank givers later. If you are asking a giver for a gift this year, don’t be afraid to thank them again for a gift they gave in the past. Experiment with a “thank you series” of emails. It’s hard to say thank you too often.
- Use video in your thank you where possible. A text based thank you note along with a receipt effectively says, “I’m sort of thankful, but I’m really just fulfilling my obligation to the IRS.” That’s not the message you want to send. Instead, use video or other rich media to say thanks — you might even try test splitting the thank you from the receipt itself.
Whatever you do, be sure to close the loop! The best way to say thank you is by letting givers know what their gift has accomplished. Be relentless in tieing giving to the actual work it’s accomplishing.
If givers sense they are giving to “overhead” they will only ever be “tippers” to your organization. But if they receive stories from the field about how their money is impacting the cause, they will stop feeling like outsiders and instead will more likely be swept up in your cause.
When giving ceases to be a private matter, people can’t help but tell everyone they know about the cause. And when this happens, everyone wins.