By Mandy Pearce
If your organization gets selected to receive grant funding, you should be thankful you were chosen and express that appropriately to the donor (right after you do your own little happy dance!).
Be sure you know what form(s) of acknowledgment the donor/foundation is amenable to before you start sending out press releases, articles in the paper, e-blasts, etc. Some donors are very intentional in asking for no recognition of their gifts. Make sure you respect these wishes. Other donors want all the recognition you can afford. Make every effort to know these things prior to being awarded funds so you can be on the ball when you are selected.
First and foremost, you need to pick up the phone and call the donor to say thank-you. You may speak to the program officer, the executive director or CEO, the owner of a company or a secretary. It may be that you speak to several people and thank them for their various roles in helping make this opportunity possible. As long as you say thank-you immediately, you are on the right track.
Next, take out the stationary or note card and hand-write a thank you to the donor, company, or organization. Be original and show your gratitude in this correspondence. There is no need to write a book. Get that puppy in the mail ASAP!
Then proceed to recognize the organization in the manner in which they request, and the manner which is appropriate for the size of their gift.
Ideas for recognition will vary based on the gift amount, the donor wishes, and the resources at your disposal. Some ideas may include:
- Banner stands with customized appreciation wording
- Thank you lunch/coffee with donor
- Tour of the program/project ‘in action’ as dollars are utilized
- Press releases to local media
- Social media posts
- Story in your organizational newsletter
- Bricks/tiles/walls of honor on construction projects
- Special presentation to the donor at a board meeting or annual meeting
- Presentation from a client/participant/beneficiary from the program/project at an event of the donor’s choosing
The list is endless for ways you can recognize a donor. In order for you to have an impact on the donor, you need to get to know what they will appreciate. Not what you think they should appreciate, or what you would appreciate, but what they will appreciate.
Most donors don’t want gifts, and that’s not why they give. Learn why the financial gifts are made before you plan the thank-you efforts.
Once proper recognition is accomplished, be sure to keep the donor informed of the impact their gift is having on your program, project, or organization. Be sure to share the data, stories, successes, and challenges that have been made possible or been overcome as a result of the gift. Donors want to support your impact, not your existence. Reassure them that their gift is vital to the impact there are hoping to see.
Also, make sure to continue building the relationship with the donor after the gift is received. Make sure to invite them to events, share stories of success, provide them with impact reports, call them for tours, etc. Donor relations that build donor retention is not a concept reserved for individuals. Donor relations pertains to everyone who supports your organization, including foundations.
Do you have any individualized ways to thank foundations when you receive grant dollars? Comment below or on our Facebook page and share your ideas.