Friend “A”

Over the holidays, I sent to an out-of-town friend, who loves jewelry, a bracelet from a brand I know she has many pieces from and really likes.  I was so excited to send this bracelet as I just knew she would really love it and get a lot of use out of it.  Well, the holidays came and went, and I never heard from my friend and was starting to wonder whether she had even received the gift.  During the first week of January, I received a quick text from that friend: “I got the bracelet, thanks!”  Well, at least I know she got it, but…did she like it?  Was she surprised?  Was she even happy about it?  The wind was out of my sails at that point.

Friend “B”

Now let me tell you about another friend, who I know is an avid baker.  She collects cookbooks like my other friend collects bracelets.  I found out about a new cookbook from a local bakery that was recently released, and decided to send this book to her.  Well, three days after I sent it, I get a call from her.  “I’m sorry,” she says.  Whatever for, I wondered? She continued, “I couldn’t wait until Christmas to open the gift you sent me, I absolutely love it! I’ve already marked several recipes that I’m going to try out this weekend.  Thank you so much!”  How do you think I felt at that moment?  I felt great!  I had done something that my friend really appreciated.

And guess what else happened?  That weekend she emailed me another thank you along with a photo of a gorgeous cake she had made from a recipe in the cookbook.  A couple weeks later, she texted me another photo of something she had made from the book and told me how much everyone at her party enjoyed it.  I was thrilled!  Not only did she like the gift, she was using it!  I have no doubt that I’ll be receiving some more great photos of things she has made.

Why Does This Matter?

Who do you think I’m going to send a gift to again?  See where I’m going with this?  It’s just a different way to think about a donor/cause relationship. A donor gives a gift because it makes them feel good to be doing something for a cause they care about.  But it’s a two-way street.  The cause needs to thank the donor for the gift and let them know how pleased they are to receive it.   But to really hit a home run, the cause needs to share in an ongoing way how they are using the gift and its impact.  If you do this, there’s a pretty good chance that your cause will be getting a second gift, because you continued to reinforce the good feeling that inspired the donor to give in the first place.

At CaringCent, our focus is on keeping donors engaged with the causes they support; if you’re not consistently engaging with your donors, we’d love to know what’s preventing it—is it resources?  Difficulty telling the impact? Let us know in the comments!