Appreciating Gifts of All Sizes

Dear Kim,

We are a direct service agency and have an excellent social media presence, particularly on Facebook. We post stories, pictures and sometimes short videos. And, I should emphasize our organization does great work! So at this time of year we are getting dozens of $5-15 gifts from new donors, most of whom will never give again. We also have a large donor base (1500) of donors who have given two or more times sending in donations. It is really hard to keep up with the thank you notes and calls and I am trying to triage the donors. Would you ever support the idea of not thanking people who give small gifts and will never give you money again? That would make my life easier and make their donation go further as none of it would be used up with thank you notes. We can post on social media that we are so appreciative and can’t thank everyone personally.

~I am thankful, really I am.

Dear Really I am,

Part of me is very sympathetic to your situation. I know the feeling of being overwhelmed with donations. This time of year is a RAFT: run-at-full-tilt and even when we are RAFTing, we are often falling behind. But the part of me that is not at all sympathetic to you is the part that says the donors should not pay the price for that, particularly small donors, some of whom are giving what is for them a large gift. You need to think in an entirely different way about your situation, which will help you at all times of year. What you need to get in the habit of is creating a team of people who can be called on in just these times.

How about asking board members, volunteers, and even other staff to help you with the thank you notes? They could write notes and/or make calls and many would really enjoy that. You say you won’t hear from many of these donors again, which is true, but one way to guarantee that is not to thank them. Is that what you want?

Here are two articles that may convince you of the importance of thank you notes and thank you calls:

All of us are having to triage our to-do lists at this time of year. As you set priorities, keep this in mind: if you only do two things between now and the end of the year, make them these two things:

  • Anything related to asking
  • Anything related to thanking

Good luck!