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Have you ever wondered why people donate to a particular cause or organization? What about why they continue to donate each and every year? Usually, those moments to donate are often unplanned and unscheduled within your life. Regardless of the cause, when a person donates, the gift itself is meant to be bigger than the purchase. So what compels people to donate, especially those who donate year after year?

The answer is simple. People give because they want to be bigger than themselves. They see these donations not just as a way to give back, but also a way to impact another life. As a fundraiser, it is your responsibility to provide that donor with excellent customer satisfaction, especially one that they will remember. By providing this great experience, you will be able to reaffirm their decision to continue their generous relationship with your organization within the future.

However, many charities and nonprofit organizations seem to lose out on the opportunity to retain previous donors. This can be extremely problematic if the trend continues. Think of this as a leaking bucket full of water. No matter how much you put in, there will always be an X amount going out. To grow, you need to treat your organization like a business. I am not saying that you have to run the industry like a Wall Street banking firm. Instead, you need to treat each donor with high quality customer interaction. Below, I have shared FIVE of the biggest mistakes an organization can make with their donors. Make sure you do not fall within these pits. Any of these mistakes can be a huge red flag for your organization and loss opportunities.

1. Failure to Communicate

One of the biggest mistakes an organization can do is not reaching out to their donors. Failure to communicate to these individuals can capitalize your relationship with them in the future. Keep your organization in the front of their minds by updating your sites, sending emails, and reaching out to them in any other appropriate manner, you will be able to stay in constant contact about how their donations are truly transforming the cause for the better. In addition, try and be personal in the emails. Yes, this can be meticulous, especially if you are dealing with a large number. But the more personal you are, the strong your relationship can be in the future.

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2. Failure to Thank Them Well

There is nothing worse than donating to a nonprofit or charity and never being thanked. Many people donate to these causes because they either value your beliefs or bought into your vision. Because of this, it is vital that you reach out to every individual and provide him or her a strong thank you letter. Make sure you are personal. The one big mistake big charities and nonprofit organizations make is that they usually send out a very generic thank you email. When writing your email, go a little bit in-depth of their reason and what you will be expecting to see from their donation.

3. Failure with Efficiency

In any organization, the logistics and efficiency need to be on point. Every meticulous detail from the way your employees talk to a customer to the way the donor’s donations are handled will be vital in attaining and completing the transactions. Oftentimes, people will donate because it can be a simple and easy process. Make sure this is exactly that. Any barriers or hoops a donor will have to jump through will usually end with them being frustrated or worse, them canceling their donation. As a manager or business leader in your nonprofit organization, take a look of the day-to-day procedures of how people handle calls and donations. If you can find an easier way for the transaction, try implementing it within your system.

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4. Failure to Pay Attention

In order to keep that retention high, make sure you get to know your donors on a personal level. Know the live events that are happening and plan accordingly. In addition, be either sensitive or aggressive with that campaign. Depending on who they are, he or she may be an individual who likes to get monthly updates. If you do find these overly enthusiastic donors, make sure you are reaching out to know. Get to know their reasons, beliefs, and stories of why they are so passionate and try and find events or opportunities in which they can spend their time being involved. By doing this, you will be able to build a strong and sustainable relationship that can last for years to come.

5. Failure to Reach Out Again

Oftentimes, when asked, donors need to consult with their families or their financial planners before making a decision to continue. Make sure you reach back out to the donor if you have not heard back from them within a week timeframe. It is your duty to follow up and engage with them about continuing their impact. If they do seem hesitant, remind them why they gave in the first place or switch them to a lower tier package. At the end of the day, it is not about the amount, but about the relationship you can continue with your donor.