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Is “Honoring” Someone Really An Honor?
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Is “Honoring” Someone Really An Honor?

Are you really honoring your donor or is this an excuse to raise or ask for money later?
What are your true intentions?

Recently a donor received a letter in an envelope with an address label attached congratulating him for being chosen by the organization because of the outstanding manner in which he had distinguished himself within his field and/or community involvement. The letter went on to explain that he, as well as others, would be highlighted at an upcoming banquet/symposium on leadership.

Secondly, in order to make the presentation complete the organization asked this individual to fill out a form telling them all his accomplishments as well as to supply a photo for the presentation and tell his view of what qualities make an effective leader. All this information would need to be sent back promptly to the director of development.

Lastly, the letter was signed with what appeared to be a computer generated signature by someone the donor had never met and was new to the organization.

So, is this an honor or not? I assume, like many things, this is all in the eye of the beholder.

This event is obviously an attempt to create some type of donor involvement with the organization as well as an effort to show a form of appreciation.

However, any attempt to thank a donor for contributions and/or their support must be carefully weighed and measured.

The foundation to building any relationship begins with knowing upfront who you are dealing with and what their mind set might be. That only comes when you are willing to be face to face with a person to find out if saying thank you is enough or if you first need to ask for forgiveness. Until you know that answer, you are wasting your time.

Also, another type of honor that seems to take place quite often is a fundraising “tribute dinner.” In this instance tickets are sold. In many cases the one being honored is asked in advance to help identify people who might be willing to buy the ticket and come to a dinner to honor him or her.

Again, while this might be seen as an acceptable form of appreciation by most, is this really the best and most effective way to thank the donor?

The only person that can answer that question is the donor. So, before you leap to honor someone be honest first with your intentions and ask in advance if this is something the person would be comfortable with.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.