Susan Madon’s Number One Fundraising and Life Tip: Write a Thank you Note!

This world runs at such a fast and furious pace it is very easy for things to get transactional.  I am stunned when people interview for a job and don’t take the time to send a grace note (or email) of thanks.  That simple act can literally set a candidate apart and make the difference in hiring for a development job.  This work is all about relationships and a person who can’t be bothered to thank someone for making time for an interview is not likely to show the kind of care and concern for donors needed to keep relationships warm and friendly.  It is five times harder to gain a donor than to keep one and on average organizations lose 50% of their donors each year.  It is therefore incumbent on strong development and management teams to maintain healthy relationships with their donors and constituents. Of course, data gathering is not always easy, you may not know your donors’ birthdays, but you can send seasonal greetings and surprise calls of thanks.  I have a development/communications associate who loves calling the monthly donors to thank them for their gifts. What a nice gesture.  She’s not asking for a gift, but she shares program updates and genuinely cares about the people who are making our mission possible. 

I used to panic a bit about writing handwritten notes because my handwriting is terrible!  When I was 18, I took a Speedwriting course and coupled with the fact that I am left-handed and taught by a teacher who didn’t quite know what to make of me, my handwriting is rather spiky and tends to drift upward. No matter. I say a little prayer to St. Hildegard von Bingen, the female patron saint of writers. I write out what I want to say on a blank piece of paper and then rewrite my genius on to a nice note card.  There is something so lovely about having good card stock to write on! Ultimately, I am sure the recipient will appreciate the gesture.  If, your handwriting is truly abysmal (doctors get such a bad rap), Paperless Post has a stunning collection of colorful and stylish ecards you can send for very little.