Resolution: “Be a better donor-centred fundraiser”

publication date: Feb 25, 2013
author/source: Gina Eisler

It’s the end of February and I’m wondering what has happened to my New Year’s resolution list.  I swear it was on my bulletin board the last time I looked. Of course, I am not talking about the one to make me a better person; I’m talking about the one that will make me a better donor-centred fundraiser.Gina Eisler photo

Stay in touch

For example, when I think of a donor and I’ve read an article that may interest them about our mission and its progress or challenges – it needs to be forwarded with a hand-written note that same day or it will move off my radar screen. That’s not just being donor-centred, it’s being smart in terms of stewardship and relationship building.

Refresh thank-you letters

Then there are the thank-you letters.  How often should they be changed?  Certainly, when I handle my own mail, I scornfully toss the ones I receive that: a) don’t reflect the direct mail appeal, b) aren’t passionate and “meaty” with tales of mission work and successes (isn’t that what I just supported?) and c) don’t provide at least one truly meaningful piece of information about goals for this year. It seems to me that the best time to write a new thank-you letter is early in the New Year - then at least every quarter. Leave the statistics on your website for those that care about them.

Fix that voicemail greeting

I admit it. I am guilty of having a perky message that is changed maybe once a year. I hate changing it every day. But my resolution is to change it every time my organization embarks on something that I should be promoting: for example, it’s Heart Month and I should be communicating that to everyone that calls me.

Promote with every email

Email signatures are a great way to promote your organization.  It takes ten seconds to add two extra lines to your signature that sends a consistent message/plea with every email. Sure, your internal email respondents will be sick of it, but your external email recipients should be thankful for a small piece of insightful knowledge about what your charity is accomplishing thanks to donor support.

Where to find more

This article by Gina Eisler is taken from a longer one with even more good ideas in the February 2013 issue of Gift Planning in Canada. Subscribe or download a sample copy

Gina Eisler, MA, CFRE has been a major gifts fundraiser for 20 years. She has directed major gifts campaigns with goals ranging from $1.2 million to $100 million. Gina is currently working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. Contact her by email

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