It is gift giving season. Do you know what you’re giving your donors?


IMG_20151220_110543620[1]Happy Holidays, DonorDreams readers! I am one of those people who procrastinates gift shopping until the last minute, which is why I was so relieved last night when I snagged the last Minecraft video game for Xbox 360 off the shelf at Target for my niece. Phew! That was a close call. I know that gift giving isn’t just on my mind because last week one of my clients gave me a pen and set of blank cards designed by their clients as small token of their appreciation (see picture to right).

Giving gifts to donors as part of a campaign (e.g. mugs, plaques, frames pictures, tote bags, etc) or at the end of the year as part of a holiday stewardship initiative is fairly commonplace in the non-profit sector. Of course, this activity is full of an angst because the last thing in the world a non-profit organization wants to do is leave the donor with a feeling that their donation had just been wasted on gift giving and appreciation.

A few years ago, a fundraising professional wrote to me and ask me for advice on this topic. I shared the following:

  • Pick up the phone, call your Top 10 donors and ask their opinion on what they think is appropriate in your community (because a simply phone call can be as much of a gift as any tote bag or appreciation plaque)
  • Send every donor a holiday card at the end of the year and include a simple Impact Report along with it (or at least incorporate some simple ‘impact messaging’ with your card)
  • Utilize “The Smell Test” and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right (when it comes to donor gifts)
  • Practice the “KISS principle” and don’t do anything too extravagant (when it comes to donor gifts)

Gifts don’t always need to be something physical. Sometimes a personalized acknowledgement can be a very thoughtful gift.

For example, last week our friends at Bloomerang gave me the best gift of all when they named the DonorDreams blog to their list of “64 Fundraising Blogs You Should Be Reading in 2016“. This was the second year in a row that this blog made that list, and it was better than almost any other holiday gift I’ve received in recent memory.

(Side note: I encourage you to click-through and read the Bloomerang article about other non-profit/fundraising bloggers. There are a number of smart and engaging bloggers on that list who you might want to check-out.)

Do you give your donors gifts? If so, what do you give them and how do you make sure that you don’t over-do-it and upset your donors? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below because we can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

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About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on December 23, 2015, in nonprofit, resource development and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Erik, I have followed your blog for several years and your insights have helped me grow as a resource development professional. Thank you for sharing your gift with so many like me. Have a very happy holiday! All the best, Becky Bergquist

  2. Michael von Neumann

    I always read your blog for insight and enjoyment. I wish it had been available when I started out in resource development. Keep up the good work.

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