The Gift You Must Give Your Donors

Once again, ‘tis the giving season. Have you finished your gift shopping for your donors? It can be hard to come up with the perfect gift for your donors. There are plenty of gift suggestion lists for him, her, mom, dad, sisters, brothers, boyfriends, girlfriends, kids, teenagers, teachers, and even the hard-to-buy-for scientist or engineer on your list:

But what about United Way donors? Is there a gift list out there for the dedicated, supportive, generous, caring United Way donor? Nope – not one. So, what are we to do?

This year, I have the perfect gift for your United Way donors. How do I know it is the perfect gift? Because, at Perspectives, we conduct numerous donor studies with United Ways. We have gathered a lot of information about United Way donors and have gained a lot of insight on what they want, including what gift will make them happy.

We just finished a study of donors for a United Way in Michigan, and we asked their donors what they wanted from their United Way. We gave them a list of 10 different things they could receive from their United Way, and the donors could choose as many things as they wanted.

There was one thing that 79% of the donors wanted (both young and old, male and female, first-time donors and long-time supporters, donors giving under $50 and Tocqueville donors) – they all wanted this. This is the gift that appeals to nearly every donor, appreciated by nearly every donor, valued and treasured by nearly all. It is the gift that donors will remember next year, when it is time to donate to United Way once again.

And what is this gift, this perfect gift that you must give all your donors? Plainly and simply, share with your donors the impact of their contribution to your United Way. Tell them how their donation to your United Way changed lives. Show them how their support of your United Way improved their community. Help them feel how involvement with United Way is meaningful and impactful. Send them a note, give them a call, reach out to your donors and share with them how they have made a difference.

Are you thinking you may have given this gift to your donors previously? You certainly don’t want to be one of those dreaded re-gifters! Guess what – no matter how many times you have given this gift, donors still want it. Donors love knowing what you did with their contribution. Donors need to know how they made a difference. In one donor study we did for a United Way, only 8 percent of donors said they knew enough about the impact of their contribution. That leaves 92 percent who want and need to know how their support of United Way improved their community. In fact, give this gift to donors in the middle of February or March next year – they’ll be so pleasantly surprised that you remembered and cared enough to think of them.

You have no excuses. Sharing the impact of a donor’s contribution does not need to be wrapped. There are no long lines at the mall for showing donors how their support improved the community. It might take a little while, but as my mom always says while cooking, “Good things take time.” Start today – send your gift to 10 donors. Repeat tomorrow, and every day. Happy Holidays!