January 24, 2019

How Did They Do? Annual Gift Follow-up

It’s mid-January, how did four nonprofits respond to year-end gifts? We received four responses to the four annual appeal operating gifts that we made, and this is what we heard from the nonprofit’s Listen to learn two best practices and two actions to avoid when you’re developing your next annual appeal or annual gift ask or campaign.


Hi, I’m Karen Eber Davis. Welcome to Added Value Video. It’s the middle of January, and my household responded to some annual appeal letters. So how did it go? We received four responses to the four gifts that we made, and I apologized to the community that we did not make them until December 31st. That’s just how it was in our household this year. A lot of households are like that, they want to get it in, but that just happened with the holidays stopping to do what they’re going to do.

So we made four responses to Annual Appeal letters , and this is what we heard from the nonprofit’s to whom we provided operating funds.


Best Practice #1.

On January 4th, I received an email from one of the gifts that we had made, thanking us for the gift and saying, hey, this is the next thing we’d like to do. Would you be interested in doing this? So a call the action to say, “come.” Not more money, but come and be part of our community. Great response.


Second one.

On the 8th of January so a little bit later but within a week and given the holidays and the mailings and all that not bad. Another email saying, “Thank you so much for the gift, and then very shortly thereafter maybe a day or two we got a newsletter saying, here’s what your gifts are doing. Here’s the great news from our organization. Another fine response, a good practice for you.


Third one.

We don’t want to do this. “Oh, we see, before any thank you note, a request for more funds. Now, again it was our bad. We were slow and getting this out and the mail and all that. But yet, if you’re planning when you’re going to do your next request, you might want to leave a little bit more time to make sure you’ve tied up loose ends and thanked every donor when you need to before you ask again. If that’s not in your plan, re-plan.


Fourth Gift

And, I mentioned a fourth gift. We’ve heard nothing from them at all, and it’s a small nonprofit, and they have no staff, so I understand what’s going on, but nonetheless if this is you and you haven’t thanked your donors yet for what they did. Hurry up. Turn this video off and go do some thank-you notes. Get that off your list. I’m Karen Eber Davis, and there’s more about raising funds and best practices in fundraising and board development in my newsletter added-value. I’ll put the link below.


For more answers, check out the  Nonprofit CEO Library.

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Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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