During the planning phase for your annual campaign, don’t forget to take some time to consider how to incorporate your major donors in your year-end campaign.
First, have you defined a major gift for your organization? For many smaller nonprofits major gifts are in the $500 – $1,000 range. Decide what makes sense for your organization and how many you can manage. But don’t forget to look at cumulative giving over the entire year. For example, your monthly donor who gives $100 a month is just as valuable (or more so) as someone who made a one time gift of $1,200.
These are arguably your most important donors and need a higher level more personalized form of communication and solicitation. They need to know that your organization knows who they are, and considers them valued partners.
Do you have board or staff members who can either call each of them or meet with them in person to discuss their annual gift? Ideally, these people will have been carefully cultivated throughout the year, not just at solicitation time. Strategies for this segment can easily fill a book or two (or three) of its own. But, since we have to start where we are, at the very least do the following for your major gifts campaign:
- Pull their names into a separate mailing list (excel spreadsheet).
- Print their letters in house asking them to repeat the amount of their last gift.
- Have the ED, Board members or program staff write a handwritten note on their letter thanking them for their partnership with the organization.
- Mail with a first class stamp.
- When a major donor responds with a gift of any size, notify the person who wrote the personalized note and have that person call the donor immediately to thank them for the gift.
If you can take it up a notch for these folks, by all means, do it.