Appreciation is the final, yet profound, step in the five-step fundraising process which also includes identification, qualification, cultivation and solicitation.
Here are tips for intentional appreciation which, in turn, can deepen fundraising relationships:
Show appreciation for the gatekeepers
Cultivating donor relationships requires good information and open doors. Expressing gratitude and appreciation for the individuals at the other end of the phone or email can help facilitate both. In contrast, viewing gatekeepers as barriers to be overcome rather than people to be cultivated can limit the ability to deepen donor relationships.
Volunteers need love, too
Yes, volunteers make a commitment, so their efforts are assumed, but shouldn’t be taken for granted. Regardless of how long volunteers have been part of the team, they should be reminded that their work is recognized, valued and appreciated. Just because people love the organization, it doesn’t mean they will continue to volunteer indefinitely. Remind them, again and again, how much their good work impacts the mission.
Make appreciation a central feature of the nonprofit’s culture
We often talk about fostering a culture of philanthropy. Showing genuine appreciation on a regular basis is a natural part of developing that culture. When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to be creative, energetic and go the extra mile.
Demonstrating appreciation isn’t unique to fundraising. Lessons can be learned from other areas of life, and those insights leveraged for increased giving.