As a Professional Benefit Auctioneer I often run into real life situations that scream out, “WRITE A BLOG ABOUT ME!” This just so happens to be one of those real life situations.
A short while back I was talking with a wonderful philanthropist that supports so many charities. He and his wife are very giving people – very caring. This couple has a real compassion to help those families that need help in their community.
During our conversation with this gentleman I happened to mention that I missed seeing them at a particular auction which had taken place months prior.
His response was somewhat startling. He said, “I love the event. It’s always a lot of fun. But, I got to tell you, I feel the charity likes our money more than they like us.”
Boy or boy does that speak volumes! Donors should never, ever feel as if they are just dollar signs.
Just as wealthy people consider money a tool – money which they put to good use – the charity also has tools which they could put to good use – especially on their wealthy donors. And the best news of all these tools would cost the charity very little – if anything.
So, what tools does a charity have that it could share with a major donor so they feel appreciated – and not feel as if they are simply dollar signs? Here are just a few examples.
- Hand written notes. This simple gesture goes a long way in telling your donors they are appreciated.
- Send a great photograph to your donor which shows them contributing at the last event. And make sure it’s in a nice frame.
- Take that great photograph of your donor – duplicate it – and put it in a visible area within the charity’s offices. Nothing would say we appreciate you more.
- Take donors on a personalized tour of your facility so they can see firsthand where and how their donations are being utilized. Better yet, give them a personalized tour of a facility, connected with the charity, that’s usually off limits to the public. (An example of this could be a shelter for abused women.)
It’s the charity’s responsibility to make their donors feel as if they are a part of the charity. These donors are gracious with their money. The charity needs to be gracious and give something back and not just be there with a hand held out.
Now here’s something charities don’t often adhere to: Audience development is a year-round program.
Charities should not just suddenly appear before a donor every time they want someone to write them a check. Charities are not being very grateful or gracious if that’s what they do.
Charities need to love and appreciate their donors 12 months a year. In return, donors will love the charity come the night of their next auction.
In conclusion, make the donors feel they are valued, show them their gifts are used in a meaningful way and appreciate them for the people they are – and not just dollar signs.