Penelope Burk: Joyful Giving

20130923-123105.jpg Ask donors what it feels like when they give. It's a very different answer than the one "why do you give?" Donors say that at the moment they make the decision to give, their heart races, their hands get clammy, and they imagine the look on the recipient's face. They imagine their contribution being put to work alongside that of strangers.

The feeling = joy!

Donors of gifts of all sizes and demographic backgrounds feel this way.

Donor recognition (outward, public displays of giving) vs. acknowledgement (private, e.g. thank you letter) -- acknowledgment is much more important to donors.

In updated research published this week, Penelope has shown that thank you phone calls from board members and other insiders have significant impact on donors' desire to be loyal. Some even give unsolicited gifts as a result.

Donors have a "pecking order" of acknowledgment preference, and a thank you from a leadership volunteer is their favorite way to be thanked.

Two things were statistically important to keep donors giving through the recession:

Challenge/matching gift opportunities -- these really do work to increase giving. Donors love giving to a success.

Board member asks -- This is the #1 strategy. Donors hold leadership volunteers in high esteem and are unlikely to say no to a board member ask.

Click here to see all posts from Penelope Burk's talk. In addition to donor relations, she shared some fascinating information and ideas on talent management: why fundraisers leave, and what organizations can do to keep them.