This is my second post about engaging the board through thank you calling (you can read the first one here). The tweet that related to it:
I realize I go on and on about thanks and gratitude, but it really does make all relationships run more smoothly. It is key to donor retention. That has stuck with me ever since I first heard Penelope Burk speak in Toronto in 1999 to our local AFP chapter during my first year in Canada.
If you haven’t purchased her book, Donor Centered Fundraising, please do. I strongly urge you; it covers thank you letters, calls and they type of thanks that donors find meaningful – all done as interviews, studies and tests. It is a foundational book for any fundraising library, and a must for anyone starting out in the profession.
Early in the book, Penelope details “The Controlled Test of Personal Thanks” where she worked with a nonprofit and had their board members call donors within 24 hours of receipt of the gift (224 out of a total of 2,240). The team then studied the fundraising revenue results more than a year on. (The solicitation letter and resolicitation methods were all these same in the test and control groups.) Penelope sums it up by noting that this method is, “So easy… and so effective.”
The results were significant: The test group gave, on average, 39% more than the control group. And after 14 months, the average gift level of the test group was 42% higher. (I don’t know about you, but the number of times over my career that in the annual giving area I’ve been asked to increase, year over year, 25% – 50% more in revenues with little or no budget increase makes those average gift lifts head turning.)