STEWARDSHIP | Is your Charity Entrepreneurial?

publication date: Sep 20, 2023
author/source: Sharron Batsch

It’s as easy as a, b, c. Donors are not a purse or a cheque book. They can give their support anywhere they wish. Why not make supporting your charity a valuable experience and one they want to continue by collecting and recording information that builds an Entrepreneurial Knowledge Base?

A. Have you considered inviting people who (primarily) donate once a year at Christmas to give monthly donations? For example, moving a donor who gives $100.00 in December to $10.00 a month is an increase of 20%.

B. Find donors who have given over successive years to identify consistent donors. Have you ever considered recognizing them for their giving?

C. Use email with short video clips ... sincerity is the key. Short, impactful slices of information are far more effective than long, drawn-out newsletters.

D. Donors who give to specific campaigns might like an update on how their gift is making a difference. Have there been any changes or updates to the services offered?

E. What are your success stories? Do they need updating?

F. Have you considered implementing a loyalty program for donors who consistently support your special events and auctions?

G. Do you have access to interesting research information to support your cause? This, too, can be of great interest and emphasize the value of continued support.

H. List organizations that support your charity on your website. This is an encouragement for other organizations to support a charity. Consider the benefits of not always asking for money but looking at a Win-Win strategy.

I. Do you provide video clips or framed thank you messages for organizations who support you? Consider the benefits; their customers see they support a charity, their staff members are introduced to you, and they may also choose to support your cause. The final benefit is that people like to work for community-responsible organizations, which is another Win-Win.

J. Do organizations that support your charity have a newsletter? Submit a thank you article they can publish. The benefits are the same as those listed above; your charity is being introduced to a whole new set of potential donors.

K. Have you segmented your donors? Who are the organizations that support you? Identifying them by business group lets you keep identifying gaps, check what you know, keep your data up to date, and find opportunities to benefit the charity and the business group; another Win-Win.

A few years ago, I met an interesting person while holidaying in the Galapagos Islands. This fellow's company sponsored a youth baseball team. At the end of June, the Piggly Wiggly grocery store would provide brats and sodas for the team and every year, the team sent a thank you letter that sat in a cabinet by the manager's office. The year this fellow got involved, the thank you was a 12 ft x18 inch banner that every team member and coach signed thanking the store. The banner was hung at the entrance to the store so that not only their staff would see it but every customer who walked in. Now, that's a thank you!

In 2018, I interviewed two high-value donors. One donor told me about a major gift he gave for a specific project. He said that once the money changed hands, he never again heard from any of the development team. He commented that receiving an update, maybe a short note signed by someone who solicited his gift, would’ve been nice. As it turned out, the entire development team quit, so he approached the ED for an update and was very surprised when no information was forthcoming. I asked him if he would support a group like this again. You can guess his response.

The lesson is clear—It's not just what the donor gives to the charity but what the charity gives to its donors.


Sharron Batsch BSc is the developer of @EASE Fund Development Software and the author of "From Chaos to Control - Build a High Performance Team Using Knowledge Management" Contact her,

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