Recognizing Your Donors (with Love and Hearts!)

I’m a big advocate of donor recognition in the non-profit world.  (The same goes for customer loyalty recognition in the for-profit world, of course!)  I learned years ago, and it remains true, that a donor doesn’t truly feel thanked until they’re recognized seven different ways.

Yes. Seven.

And the number one reason  a donor stops contributing to a non-profit isn’t because they start donated somewhere else.  It’s because they don’t feel the organization appreciates their support.

So, in the quest of donor recognition, consider these tactics shortly after a gift:

  • A personalized phone call
  • A personalized email
  • Recognition in your event’s next printed program
  • A hand-written note
  • Tickets to an inexpensive, upcoming event
  • Recognition on your organization’s website
  • And, one of my favorites: a donor wall
Vday- Heart donor wall

The major donor recognition wall at the entrance of Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach, Florida. On a side note, they saved my grandfather’s life this December after he suffered a heart attack.

The major donor wall at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, Florida.

The major donor wall at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, Florida.  In case you weren’t aware, there’s a strong citrus theme in Orange County.

I’d love to hear your ideas: How do you thank your donors?

Follow me on Twitter: @marashorr and @theleoneco.

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4 Reasons I Knew I Could Grow Business

When I left my former company just over two months ago, I had one, maybe two, strong prospects; that was enough to give me the confidence to start The Leone Company.  Why?  Because I knew the rest would follow.  (Okay, I hoped a whole heck of a lot and have worked really hard to push the rest to follow.)  In fact, Michael Schechter hits it spot on with last week’s post, “Making Something Magical.”

Am I nuts?  Well, my grandfather thought so.  But here’s why I knew I could build business.

  1. I let everyone know what I’m doing.  I was fortunate that, when I was letting my contacts know I was leaving my now-former company, my then-boss had no problem with my telling them about my exciting new adventure.  (This is how one of my first clients, edible Orlando, came to me.)
  2. I’ve been sitting on committees and collaboration meetings for, well, a really long time.  So when a project came up for the Association of Fundraising Professionals – National Philanthropy Day and for the Garden Theatre, the folks seeking help thought of me.  They know my work ethic.  They know my contacts.  They know my follow through.  They know my love for a morning bagel and schmear.  (Although that last one, I’m guessing, didn’t get me the jobs.)
  3. I’m not afraid to speak in front of groups.  It was through a course I’d signed up to teach with Centers for Animal Therapies that I’d met the founder of feline rescue group Candy’s Cats, Inc.  Turns out, she loved what I had to say so much in a one-on-one session she hired me within a week.
  4. I have my father’s gift of gab. When I was little, my father used to talk to strangers in the supermarket.  (A great way to network, perhaps, but a lousy way to please a hungry nine-year-old who’s shivering in the ice cream aisle.)  But today, more than half of the contacts I’m discussing relationships with are people I’ve met at those same types of random moments. Volunteering for a kids’ camp two weeks ago.  Dinner at one of our favorite German restaurants.  A glass of wine with friends.  I always carry business cards, and I’m always ready to tell people what I do, since what I do may just be able to help them where they need it most.
I love new secrets: What is your best tip for growing new business?  Please share!