Donor relations – Why details are so important

I always encourage the organizations I work with to be especially mindful of details and record-keeping when it comes to donors. No church or nonprofit could operate without donors that contribute to cover the expenses of your organization. They give of what they have worked hard and been blessed with to bless others. Many of the people that give to your church or nonprofit are friends, family and co-laborers. They give because they believe in what you do and want to see the work continue. Here are some ways you can make sure your donors feel honored and a part of what you are doing:

  1. Send receipts often. Whatever your tracking system, there should be a simple way to send an email receipt with the proper IRS language and a thank you for each donation. This gives the donor peace of mind that his/her donation has been received and tracked.
  2. Consider quarterly mailings. Everyone likes to feel thanked and an intimate part of what you do. Consider sending out paper letter at the end of each quarter totaling their giving and telling a story about how their money furthered kingdom work. If you are working hard and using the funds wisely, you should be able to point to some real fruit born from what your organization is doing. Share the hard stuff too – people who donate to you care and believe in what you are doing so don’t be afraid to tell them what’s a challenge.
  3. Keep accurate records. Make sure you have processes in place to verify that all the money put in the bank has donor information attached to it. This way, your end-of-year receipts will be accurate. Having a mistake on your annual donation statement breaks trust with your donor and sews that seed of doubt that his or her money is being used well.
  4. Make sure your status with the state registry is up to date and accurate. Each state has a department that tracks charities. There are various laws in place that require registry in some cases. Some donors, especially large ones, will check to see if your organization is registered. Make sure you are in compliance to show that you are a solid organization.

As a side note, end-year-statements are not required by the IRS. But you are required to keep records of all donations and provide receipts upon request with the appropriate language to enable the donor to claim it as a tax deduction if he or she chooses. They are customary and encouraged and definitely improve donor relations and perceptions of your organization.