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!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC