How do you recognize donors?

Working on your annual report? The article below has a link regarding modernizing the report and making it exciting, but it also addresses a key area of donor recognition – printing the names of donors. Be sure to take a look.

At a very minimum, of course, you want to thank your donors personally, either through a thank you note or letter or sometimes a phone call of appreciation. (That call doesn’t have to come from the CEO, but can come from staff, participants, or board members who are trained and capable.) These are people you will go back to someday, maybe soon, to ask for more, so you want to make sure they know you appreciate them. Make sure none fall through the cracks. Automatic monthly donations, if you are lucky enough to have them, can be missed and you really mustn’t. Maybe you will decide against thanking every time, but I advise you tread carefully. Those regular subscribers are your bread and butter.

I suggest a Thanksgiving letter to all your donors. (Time to plan for next year!) This is before the Christmas rush of requests for new donations, and lets them know at an appropriate season that you really appreciate them. When you can personalize the letter, even better.

Some donors, frankly, expect to be recognized more substantially. Other ways that donors are recognized: A gift, often a gift with the name of your organization. Sometimes the size of the gift is bigger with the bigger donation. The value of the gift is deducted from the donated amount for tax purposes. Pens to notepad notes to bumper stickers to certificates or medallions can serve this purpose. Note, though, that fund raising expenses are not allowable with your federal grants so these premiums and gifts aren’t allowed either. When the donation is significant, sometimes a room or a building is named after that donor. Sometimes there is a donor wall with the names of donors over a certain amount affixed to the wall in some way, from leaves on trees to bricks to small engraved plaques. And there is that list in your annual report. Take a new look at that — the article below is worth reading.
Dos and Don’ts of Donor Recognition

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