Recently, Guidestar shared an interesting article about the findings from fundraising pioneer Penelope Burk. She found that having board members call donors to thank them for their gift can increase your gifting up to 39%. Penelope Burk shared the following statistics from her book Donor Centered Fundraising.
Donors who received a thank you phone call from a board member within 24 hours of receiving the gift - the next time they were solicited, they gave 39% more than the other donors who did not receive a call.
After 14 months, those called were giving 42% more.
She offers this simple strategy - the next time you send out an appeal, employ your standard thank you processes—letters, personal notes, etc. But select out a random group of donors for a special thank you treatment:
Organize your board members to make thank you phone calls to these donors within 24 hours of the gift's receipt. It's really important that they make the call within 24 hours of when your organization receives the gift.
Have your board members talk to a real person if at all possible.
After several tries, they can just leave a message that simply thanks the donor.
The phone calls are NOT about asking for another gift. They are for stewardship only.
Burk also suggests if your board members are adventurous, they can ask the donor why he/she chose to make this gift. This will give them the opportunity to hear the donor's story—and the donor will be even more pleased and honored. When you send your next solicitation out to all your donors you can conduct your own research by comparing the ones who received the extra thank you phone call and those who just received your regular thank yous. When the repeat gifts come in, compare the results of both groups. You'll find, when all other things are equal, that the donors who received a prompt, personal thank you from a board member within 24 hours of a gift being received will give up to 39 percent more than the other group.
Sometimes a simple and inexpensive strategy can provide amazing results.