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Round Table Round Up: Year-End Appeal

Devoting time to your year-end appeal seems a difficult task when faced with an upcoming fall event season. However, with 30% of annual giving happening in the month of December and increased online giving (up 12% in 2017*), devoting time to your year-end appeal is a necessity, specifically segmenting and telling your story. Planning ahead will help if you have a clear timeline with tasks. And some small steps taken now will ensure greater success later.

Start now on finding that story. Work with program staff or ask someone to write their own story. Maybe this is an update on a client served; a client whose story was showcased recently at an event or in a donor newsletter. Keep in mind that while donors want to know the story, they also need metrics. Over the next couple of months, think of clever ways to incorporate metrics into that letter and ensure the story gains empathy, not sympathy.

Now that a story is underway, it’s time to tackle – and segment – the list. Utilize board and other committee volunteers to help identify who they know on the list (or specific segments of the list) so they can handwrite personal notes on those letters later. This is what takes time and forward planning.

Over the next couple of months, you will fine tune those segments and make sure you are speaking to the donor in meaningful ways. How? Well, segmenting isn’t a one size fits all. Once you’ve pulled your data, determine which groups need which language and how you are going to reach them. Major donors, monthly donors, volunteers, regular donors, non-donors – they are all different to you and must be asked differently.

Major Donors are often the trickiest segment and the one that we usually say “forget it – no time!” Truth is: you HAVE to spend time here. It’s likely that not all major donors are giving at year-end. Perhaps they choose to give in August, or March. Honor that by still sending them a letter with a handwritten note thanking them for their annual gift and telling them you wanted to share the story they had a role in. Don’t ask them for anything specific here. For major donors who DO give at year-end, make a plan for how you will appeal to them.

This same approach could be used for your monthly donors as well. Let them know you know them by writing that handwritten, personal note thanking them for being a monthly donor.

Segmenting data and writing personal notes is time intensive. We get it. That’s why your year-end appeal planning should start in August.

*2017 Blackbaud Giving Report

The Power of Events: Michigan Sports Academies Foundation

With a busy spring event season behind us, we congratulate all our clients who held events in the last few months. No matter the size or scope, you undoubtedly connected with people and raised needed funds for your organization. Each year you spend many hours preparing, reworking, and building special events that bring your donors closer to the mission.

When the Michigan Sports Academies Foundation (MSAF) came to Kennari Consulting for help, we were excited to get involved. As a new Foundation, this was an opportunity to introduce the community and donors to the important work being done. For Kennari, it was an opportunity to build a new event around best practices, ensuring success for the first year, and success long into the future.

MSAF was created to provide financial resources that facilitate participation in youth sports to families who otherwise could not afford to do so. Critically important to the event was sharing the impact youth sports have on individuals, and why this Foundation is worthy of their financial support.

Attendees had an opportunity to engage with the “tailgate” theme through games during the cocktail hour and the food that was provided. It’s not every day that fundraising events are held in a basketball gym and include corn hole and fowling, but for this event, it was the perfect fit! A highlight of the program was hearing from former Michigan Volleyball Academy player, Abby Cole and her fiancé, Austin Hatch. Abby and Austin met at the University of Michigan, where Abby played volleyball and Austin played basketball. Though not a West Michigan native, Austin shared his powerful story of overcoming the adversity of losing his family in two separate plane crashes, and how youth sports played a significant role in his life.

Guests had an enjoyable evening, sponsors were proud to stand behind the work being done, and people left the room feeling inspired. Most importantly, the community was shown the mission of MSAF and had an opportunity to financially support it. Plans are already underway for 2019!

“Kennari Consulting is the key to sanity! In our first venture into event planning and getting started as a Foundation, they were critical to our ongoing success. Their staff is responsive, accessible and professional.” ~Rena Schwartz, MSAF

For more information about Michigan Sports Academies, visit

Giving USA 2018

The Giving USA Foundation has conducted its annual survey determining sources of donations in the USA for more than 50 years. Below are a few of this year’s findings. For more information or to order a copy of the full report, visit

Since the initial survey in 1954, only three years have seen a decline in total annual giving (1987, 2008 and 2009). In 2017, total annual giving rose 5.2% to more than $400 billion with 79% of gifts coming from individuals, 5% from corporations and 16% from foundations. Overall online giving grew 23% compared with 15% in 2016 and monthly renewal giving saw an increase of 40%. Giving from all three sources increased, and Family Foundations was the sub-sector that saw the largest increase in giving at 15.5% growth. Religion was the sector with the most donations – about 31% of the total. Education came second with 14% and Human Services third with 12%. Giving to the arts was the second-fastest growing subsector with an 8.7% increase over the previous year. To be successful, nonprofit organizations need to calibrate their efforts to seek gifts primarily from individuals as they still are the largest and most stable source of charitable gifts for nonprofit organizations.

Gifts by Individuals
Fewer American households are donating to charity, though the numbers held steady among certain groups such as wealthier and older Americans. However, the gifts coming in are larger, making the total amount raised increase in recent years. The report reinforced the importance of paying attention to mid-level donors, suggesting that organizations that spend time nurturing donor relationships of mid-level donors will see the rewards of sustainable donation revenue. Charitable giving by bequest is estimated to have increased 2.3% in 2017. Intentional strategies should be developed to encourage not only major donors, but annual donors to consider bequests.

Gifts by Foundations
Grantmaking by foundations increased 6% from 2016. Giving grew by all three types of foundations including independent (4.9%), operating (6.2%), and community (11%). The political environment is shaping funding considerations; 80% of foundation leaders agree that philanthropy will be more important to society than ever.

Gifts by Corporations
Charitable giving by corporations increased an estimated 8% (including cash, grants, in-kind contributions, and gifts made by corporate foundations). The report found that corporate giving spiked in disaster relief and that 63% of U.S. citizens look to companies to take the lead on such issues.

This summary is just a brief glimpse at the extensive data Giving USA delivers each year. Please visit to learn more.

Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 (2018). Chicago: Giving USA Foundation

Round Table Round Up: Overview of Campaign Leadership & Volunteers

We all know that Capital Campaigns are a lot of work! You will need some support. Successful Campaigns rely on great leadership and volunteers to extend the reach into your current and prospective donor lists. Getting the right people in the right position will help move your Campaign towards its goal in an efficient manner. How do you find the right people? Each organization has a unique garden of donors. Your volunteers are also unique. It’s important to recognize their differences and how to best place them on your team. Knowing this will add to your “gardening tool kit” and help move your fundraising along.

Who are the players?

Campaign leadership and volunteers consist of a range of roles. Making sure you find the right people for each role will be immensely helpful. Connectors and Sales type people make the best fundraising volunteers, so consider this while determining who to recruit for your Chairs and Cabinet.

Honorary Chairs or Committee are the big names in the community, or in the culture of the organization, who operate in a high level and are capable of a significant amount of leadership in the campaign. Expect them to make a gift, but not to be active fundraisers. Their influence is a Maven, or someone whose passion, knowledge, and expertise is their gift to your campaign.

Campaign Chairs are your “face of the campaign” and should be able to help you with high level asks, campaign strategy, and be available for regular meetings. Engaged and connected Chairs are key to really keeping things moving forward. Look for those whose networks will be inclined to your project.

Cabinet Members are those who will help extend your ability to make face to face asks. These are volunteers who are connected to your current and prospective donor list at the mid-range gift size. Remember what your capacity is and what you’re willing to manage. Each member should average of 5 – 10 asks. They should also be able to make a personal gift.

Endorsement Council Members are those who are supportive of the project but are unable to help raise money. They help answer the question “is a good idea?” These people may have a conflict of interests and may or may not donate, but have experience or relation to the project.

Diversity – how does diversity come into play? Look at what it means to your organization. Funders are wanting to see more diversity and equity in the key volunteers for projects as well as in the organization itself.



Determine who should be identified to which role. Have a job description and be upfront. Tell them what you expect from them. Busy volunteers who are connected, deserve to know what they are committing to (e.g. be there once a month, ask x amount of times).


Training & Supporting

One of the main reasons volunteers are reluctant to make asks is because they feel like they might not be able to answer questions.  Give them all the tools for success. Provide a binder with all the information on the campaign – campaign materials, pledge cards, brochure – and distribute any videos that will be used to share the story with their donor prospects. Having all the materials helps give them confidence. Review any new strategies and bring them in to discuss new prospects that emerge. (Face-to-face giving is ten times higher than receiving information in the mail.) Review the prospect list with them to find those who they are comfortable with working with. Just as one on one asks are most effective, working one on one with your Campaign Volunteers is also the best way to customize and strategize the asks they will be making.

Determine the communication point person from your staff so volunteers will know who they should expect to hear from and to whom they should direct their questions. Communicate with your Campaign Volunteers regularly to keep them in the loop on progress and any relevant developments. Share successes with the group so they will be inspired.

Together, with your enthusiastic, engaged, and well-trained cadre of Campaign Volunteers, the success of your Campaign will result in lasting relationships as well as a new building, additional programming, or an endowment.


Round Table Round Up: Making the Ask

Your major donors are an important part of your organization’s success. Making a Major Gift ask is the culmination of thoughtful planning and strategic actions. You will have the most success if you have worked through the entire process of building and implementing a Major Gifts process. It’s important to connect your Major Gifts program to the organization’s strategic vision, to set goals within your development plan and commit to the discipline of building relationships with major donors. Your garden of donors will respond favorably if you have built and made use of the appropriate toolkit for staff and volunteers.

Tools to Help with the Major Gift Process
Each organization has its own unique garden of donors, with individual preferences for how they want to be connected to your mission. The Major Gift process will help you give them the individual attention they deserve. Striving to customize a cultivation path for each donor is the key to success. Putting in place a leveled giving program, building a committee of connected volunteers, and creating a menu of cultivation activities is worthy of investing your time. Once you have the right people on the committee, you must provide them with the tools they need to be effective volunteers. One of the best motivators is having a goal; share your Major Gifts needs with the committee and have them help set a goal.

Getting the Appointment
It can take 12-18 months to cultivate a donor to the level where they are ready for a Major Gift ask. Use your volunteers to help make connections and learn about donors’ preferences in communication style and frequency. Make sure you are reaching out to them with multiple customized “touches” throughout the year. This includes newsletters, phone calls, invitations to events, handwritten notes, and personal meetings. Make them feel like insiders by sharing important news directly with them before it goes out to the rest of your donor base. Use all the tools available to build the relationship, so when you ask for the appointment, they will be receptive.

Preparing for the Meeting
Careful planning for the ask itself is very important. Be sure the materials have accurate name and address information and that you have enough copies, so no one has to share. Confirm the appointment with all who will be attending the meeting. Review your plan for the meeting flow and prepare your “ask partner” if you have one, with all relevant information about the donor. Determine who will make the ask based on the relationship and comfort of you and your volunteer or staff partner. The amount should be well planned, based on the goal and cultivation steps. If you don’t know the amount, you aren’t ready to make the ask. Practice your part so you will feel comfortable and smooth in your delivery.

And Now for the Ask
The time has come and you’re in the meeting with your donor. All your planning and preparation have positioned you for the best possible results. Start with some questions to get the donor talking. Listen to them carefully for cues about their interests and concerns. If they have questions that you cannot answer, it’s fine to say: “I don’t know the answer to that right now, but I will get back to you” (you just created another touch point and built trust through being transparent). Once you determine the moment is right, make the ask as a direct request for the agreed upon amount. Know that you’re giving them an opportunity to support something they care about, so don’t be apologetic. Then wait for them to respond. Train yourself to be okay in the silence while they’re considering your request. It’s very important to not “talk them out” of the gift by filling the silence with chatter or remarks such as “if that’s too much, whatever you give is fine.” While you have spent months preparing for this meeting, they have not and may be mentally reviewing other commitments, whether they should check in with their accountant, or discuss it with a spouse. Once you have their answer, be appreciative of their time and let them know you will be following up in the agreed upon manner. Follow up with a thank you note regardless of the results.

By following these Best Practices of careful relationship building and planning, your Major Gifts asks will net positive results and help support your organization’s mission.

Round Table Round Up: Major Gifts Toolbox

How do you set up a major gifts program? What do you need in your “garden shed” to help cultivate it? You need tools, sunlight, plants, food, etc. When you recognize that gardening is hard work, (but it can be fun!) you will see that your major donor garden will flourish when you have all the right tools in place.
Your major donors are an important part of your organization’s success. We’re looking at those who make donations – not sponsorships or other transactional revenue – at the level you have determined constitutes a major gift.

Tools to Help with the Major Gift Process
The Donor Development Committee Process takes time to get up and running. It could be 3 – 6 months or sometimes more. Your planning and perseverance will pay off with good results. The purpose of the Committee is to help with donor engagement. This means sharing their donor intelligence. What do they know about your donors that will help you treat them like the individuals they are? Who on the list has more capacity to give? And who are they willing to help you with?
Other work of the Committee is to personally invite people to cultivation or engagement activities that have been identified as appropriate for that specific donor. When volunteers invite donors, the peer-to-peer response can be stronger than a simple invitation from the organization. Helping with personalized thank yous is also a responsibility of the Committee.

Recruiting the Committee
Getting the right people on the Donor Development Committee is vital to its success. Committee members are both donors (flowers in the garden) and also gardeners who help with cultivation. Loving your organization is not enough. You want those who are able and willing to help make connections and to interact with donors. A good Committee has a couple of Board members and some non-Board members as well – probably enthusiastic donors who are connected to existing donors or can help you expand your network. Because the cultivation process can take 12-18 months, it’s helpful to have your volunteers commit to at least a year with the Committee.

Now what?
Once you have the right people on the Committee, you must provide them with the tools they need to be effective volunteers. One of the best motivators is having a goal. Share with them your major gifts needs and have them help set a goal.

Major Giving Levels
Establishing major giving levels that show the impact of donations is very important for your organization and for the Committee members. Look at what a gift at $1,000 and other major gift levels can do for you. If you don’t already have this in place, the Committee can help with ideas, and it helps them to have buy in. Then develop a print piece to share. Once you have the levels and the print piece, determine how to launch the program. This could be at a luncheon or gala, in a target appeal, or at its own major donor event. This is a tool to be integrated into all places where you could be showing the need for impact giving at higher levels.

Cultivation Activities
Recognize that, like different kinds of flowers in your garden, donors will respond to different kinds of engagement opportunities. The Committee can help develop your menu of activities. The more personalized they are, the more effective they are likely to be. Some donors will enjoy group or social activities, while others will need more of a one-on-one approach. Here again, your volunteers can be very helpful in determining what kind of engagement will be needed for the donors they know.

Tend the Garden
Your garden of major donors will thrive when you give special care to them. Recognize them with unique thank yous. Engage them by putting them on committees or on your board. Be sure that they are on the list for hearing first when something new or exciting happens. Reinforce your brand with them at every opportunity. Make use of the tools and your Committee to extend your reach and build the relationships that will continue cultivating major gifts.

Round Table Round Up: Overview of a Successful Major Gifts Program

When I moved into my current home, one of the first things that inspired me daily was the amazing work that went into the flower gardens in the front and back yards.  Neighbors told me that the previous owner would come outside each day with her glass of iced tea and carefully tend to the many bushes, plants and flowers with such technique and care.  As a result, I enjoyed walking outside for the next few months, excited to see what new flowers were blooming.  As another result, because I have no gardening instincts, or time to develop them, the beautiful gardens are no longer blooming and I now spend my time hoping the previous owner does not drive through the neighborhood!

The problem was that I used just one strategy for my entire garden – same amount of water, weeding, and shade, or I didn’t pay attention to it at all. The same story can be told in terms of major gift donors and the amount of care and time you take with them within your own organization.  Major gift cultivation is just like growing your own garden.  Just as donors become engaged with your organization through different channels, their needs are different in terms of stewardship and cultivation.  This means that while some donors want to attend a group tour or event, others may prefer a one on one meeting, or engaging with your constituents directly. Everyone is different, and each donor prospect is going to respond differently to a different level of engagement with your organization. In order to build and maintain a robust major gifts program, organizations must keep a “garden” mentality, using care and deliberate action to get results.

What is a Major Gift?

Major Gifts are defined by three things:  the amount, the process that garners the gift, and the source.  A major gift for one organization might be $250, for another it may be $10,000.  The particular dollar amount is the highest level at which you have a critical mass.  This is also the level of donor that is manageable for you to cultivate on an individual basis.   These donors may be individuals, foundations, or corporations – any gift that is part of this highest critical mass should be considered a major donor.    This group of donors is your base for your major gift program, or your organization’s “donor garden.”

Role of Major Gifts within the Annual Fund

A successful major gifts program plays a critical role in your organization’s strategic plan success and mission advancement.  As the strategic plan provides the vision and mission and details the initiatives that move that mission forward, a robust major gifts program can provide the funds to resource those initiatives.  And, your major donors not only want to know you have a strategic plan, but they also want to help you reach your goals.  But, you have to share your vision and future plans with them in order for them to see how their dollars can help.  All of your donors are interested in your success, a major donor is interested in how you are going to get there.

Your plans for growing your major gifts should include a strategy to share your vision and goals with donor prospects regularly, without making an ask, so that when it comes time for them to renew or increase, they know what your needs are, and they can respond.

Not all of your donors have the capacity to become major donors, but your job as the “master gardener” is to give them the opportunity to get to their own highest level of giving. This means that as you are able to bring prospects in through a strategic point of entry such as an event or tour, you are taking the time to determine what the next step should be to give that person an opportunity to learn more about your organization.

Developing Cultivation Plans

 One of the most common issues we hear from our clients is that they can’t seem to connect with a major donor prospect after inviting them to different events.  While it might seem like this donor is simply not interested in your organization, another explanation is that you just haven’t found the right cultivation step for them.  As you look at your cultivation options, consider which types of donors might like to attend which activities. Someone who would be thrilled to have lunch with the CEO or Artistic Director, would not be as interested in attending a large group event or house party.  This is why each major gift prospect should be considered individually, so they can be brought to their highest cultivated gift for the organization.

A great way to better understand your donor prospect, and begin to cultivate them in a way that elicits the response you are looking for, is to engage with a volunteer that knows the prospect.  A good connection can tell you whether what part of your organization is probably the most interesting to them, and how they might like to learn more.  Another way to determine the right path is simply by listening to the donor when you are talking with them.  Do they seem uninterested in your idea or are they simply too busy?  Have you asked them how they got interested in your organization in the first place?  Many donors are happy to tell you what interests them, and you can use this information as you consider the right pathway.  However, if you only try to reach them by mailed invitations, you don’t have an opportunity to learn more about them.

Planning and Tracking Cultivation Paths using Moves Management

As your development team considers its “donor garden,” and how to care for the donors in it, you should create an action plan for the next three steps that you plan to take with that donor.  One step may be to engage a volunteer, another may be to invite them to a speaker series you are holding, and another may be to personally share a recent “win” for the organization.  As these three steps are mapped out, a staff member should be identified as the person who will ensure the identified pathway is taken.  In addition to the cultivation plan, there should be an intended target ask amount.  This ask might happen two months after the first step is taken, and it might happen a year later, but there should be an ask plan that matches the dollars you have identified in your development plan.

Your cultivation path should be a fluid, dynamic document.  A missed first step can derail the rest of the plan, and your action plan should reflect that shift.  Additionally, your plan doesn’t end when you receive the gift.  Once the gift is received, you should be planning the next steps to steward the gift, and show the donor how your organization is a good investment.

Every organization wants to know how to move the needle on the issue that their mission addresses.  I often have people as me how they can make a significant improvement on their fundraising results – how can they go from good to great?  The answer is always a robust major giving program.  A deliberate plan to bring individual donors closer to your organization is the best way toward real mission advancement.

Tax Law Changes and the Impact on Charitable Giving

With changes no longer on the horizon but here now, how does the new tax law impact your organization and your donors?Staff at Kennari have been receiving and reviewing several webinars, documents and information about the changes that have come. We wanted to share a couple notable pieces with you.

The Sharpe Group recently facilitated a webinar detailing the recent tax law changes and potential impact on charitable giving. Additionally the Sharpe Group provides a White Paper detailing the changes. We hope you find this information helpful. As always, if you have detailed questions please consult your tax advisor.

Hope Network Grant Success

The Kennari Grants Team works with clients of all sizes and passions, helping them create compelling narratives to further their missions. Each time a grant is received we all celebrate the client’s success. Hope Network’s grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is just one of many projects we enjoyed being a part of this past year.

Overcoming incredible odds and breaking down barriers are no easy tasks. For those re-entering society after incarceration, the path is often a difficult one, especially when it comes to employment. Although employment is strongly correlated with reduced recidivism, jobs can be hard to come by for ex-offenders. In today’s labor market, the widespread use of criminal background checks severely limits ex-offenders’ job prospects. In one study, over 40% of employers indicated they would “probably” or “absolutely” not hire an individual convicted of a crime. Employment prospects become even slimmer when individuals have violent or stigmatized convictions.

Fortunately, Hope Network, one of West Michigan’s most highly-regarded providers of workforce development, mental health, and rehabilitation services, is no stranger to helping people overcome barriers. Hope Network’s Workforce Development division launched a successful pilot program, Ready for Work (R4W), in 2012. R4W provides pre-release employment readiness training and post-release job support, placement, and coaching to male inmates of the Kent County Correctional Facility.

Over the past 6 years, the R4W program has helped hundreds of men get and keep steady jobs, reducing recidivism. However, the R4W team recognized that the program could be strengthened by partnering with other organizations providing re-entry services, including Arbor Circle, 70×7 Life Recovery, and Legal Aid of Western Michigan. These partnerships would potentially provide wraparound services pre-and post-release, including ongoing case management, mentoring, and civil legal services. This new concept program would do more than help individuals find employment, it would support individuals’ re-entry efforts at every step of the process. The Road to Success program was born. For Hope Network, the question became, “How can we fund this?”

With the support of the Kennari Consulting grants team, Hope Network applied for a federal grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to implement the Road to Success program for three years. The BJA grant was awarded in 2017 and will provide three years of funding for Road to Success, totaling nearly $1 million. Local foundation grants have also been sought to bring this program to fruition, namely the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

Road to Success will impact the Grand Rapids community for years to come. “This grant from the Bureau of Justice is an investment in our community, along with the support of the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation who share our interest in interrupting an outdated and stubborn re-entry model for those exiting the corrections system,” says Justin Swan, Director of Development for the Hope Network Foundation. “With the help of our partners, and the guidance of Kennari Consulting, we were able to build a new and innovative model that offers better outcomes for those exiting the corrections system and lends to economic development in the region.”

To learn more about Hope Network, please visit their website.

Round Table Round Up: Strategic and Consistent Donor Communication Plan

Many organizations have barriers in adhering to a consistent and strategic donor communication plan.  The most common we hear are: there just isn’t enough time in the day AND it’s difficult to gather stories from program participants. And of course there are hundreds of other barriers as well. Let’s face it, the donor communication plan isn’t breathing down our necks – so it’s easy to wait until it’s absolutely urgent. But today is the day to dedicate a little time to your plan. You’ll be glad you did.

Remember, it’s about the donor, not you. Organizations need to regularly “Inform, Ask, and Thank,” and it takes all three for a comprehensive plan.

To “Inform,” donors need to hear the details about what their dollars are doing – focus on what their gift has accomplished, share statistics and impact stories, and give updates on programs they have already demonstrated interest in. Vary your delivery. It can be letters, pictures, videos, etc.

To “Ask,” make sure the timing is right for that donor. Detail your future plans and where the organization is headed. Most organizations should be asking for support at least twice in a direct mail/email appeal.

To “Thank,” get the thank you letter/receipt out within 48 hours. Make it a meaningful piece of communication. Regularly change the content of the thank you letter so donors don’t get the same one.  At least change it seasonally/quarterly, but consider updating it monthly. Be sure you ask people how they want their tax letter (via email or hard copy) and especially be intentional with how monthly donors want their receipt info. Be creative! Consider sending a thank you video or hand made card from a program participant.

Combat the Struggles!  Time is a challenge for all development professionals, so we all have to do the best we can. First off, make a communication plan and share it with your team. This will help keep everyone on the same page and avoid random additions to your calendar! Don’t rely on mailings when you have a cash flow issue – you should be asking when it’s the right time for a donor to give, not when you need the money. Gathering stories can be difficult for some development staff as well. Consider participating in existing program meetings. Have each program director share a story at all staff meetings. Take notes on tours or identify a specific program staff member who you think might have stories and begin building a relationship with them. Program staff are busy and sometimes reluctant to share stories, so make it easy for them. Also, show them how the story will be used so they can be comfortable knowing we aren’t going to cross any moral or confidentiality lines. Consider asking for a little testimonial/statement in your remittance device and then have a volunteer make calls to follow up and get more info.

There are a few critical elements to a donor communication chart – but the most important part is to have one and use it! Make sure it has the purpose of the piece specified, the recipients, the segments, and the drop date listed. This will not only help you keep track of what you did before, but also eliminates some of the chaos if you agree on these areas ahead of time. Segmentation is the most difficult and time consuming part of donor communication, but also the most critical. You MUST talk to your donors in the way they identify with you. If they’re a volunteer, thank them for their time! If they’re a major or monthly donor, acknowledge their support before asking them for anything else. It’s okay to ask people to give more than once, but if you don’t start with gratitude, you won’t get very far.

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