Nonprofits need to understand the mind of their donors! Individuals have certain expectations; foundations may have a completely different set of criteria as well as government agencies. Regardless, all of the expectations must be met if you have a chance to get current or future funding. But how do you do it? How can a nonprofit achieve this level of existence? First and foremost you have to start with a foundation rooted in total honestly. You have to be upfront and honest with every potential funding source with the capacity of the organization and what type of reporting you are capable of generating. Don’t tell a foundation or government agency you will be able to give them outcome based measurements if you do not have them in place now or not even a clue at how to do it. Do not fall in the trap of, “well if we get funded we will just figure it out later!” Oh it’s true, it is true and you know it!
Communication to a funding source is one of the single most important duties and responsibilities you have when receiving funds; yet, for many it is one of the most commonly overlooked and neglected aspects of running a nonprofit organization.
At the gym I heard the song by Rod Steward titled: “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.” So my question to you is have you told your donors lately that you love them? Seriously, how do you go about telling someone that you really care? Are your donors just a big pocketbook to you? The donor knows you need the money, otherwise they would not have invested in your present and possible future. So again, let me ask you: what are you as a nonprofit doing over and above what is required? Doing what is required is not noteworthy i.e. sending a receipt, filing your taxes, carrying out your program, etc. All that is expected and more.
How about getting a coffee mug and filling it full of chocolates and dropping it in a priority mail box and sending it to a donor with a hand written note saying: “In all our rush to do what we do, I wanted to take time out just to say, THANKS!” Or better yet have staff, board members, or volunteers deliver it in person.
How hard is that? Will it cut you some slack down the road? Maybe or maybe not, but shouldn’t you do it anyway? Will repeated genuine acts of kindness get you remembered above the rest, absolutely!
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.