Our Work


The New Year is always a good time to step back and look at what it means to be a donor to your organization.  Take a step into their shoes for a moment and you might find out that you could be doing things better.  We usually focus on the big ideas, but often the little things are easier to address and have a much bigger pay off.

Do this – assume that you’ve never heard of your organization.  You stumble upon it; either you got a mailing or a friend “liked” them or you hear a news story about their good works.  You make a gift.  Well, what happens next?  Do you even know?  It’s good practice to every so often make a whitemail gift to your own organization.  Have some fun with it! Make up an alias, throw a few bucks into an envelope and mail it to your office.  Watch what happens next and answer these questions:

Were you thanked effectively? 

How long does it take your thank you letter to arrive?  The sooner, the better.  Take a look at the form; does it have a reply slip and return envelope?  If not, you are leaving revenue on the table.  Your thank you letters should be producing AT LEAST as much revenue as they cost.  If not, likely one of the above is not happening.

Are you encouraged to make a monthly donation?

Donors typically feel closest to an organization when they make their first donation.  That is when you want to hit them with an offer to make a monthly commitment.  But a donor is not going to assume that
they can just make a monthly pledge; they need to be told so and you want to hit them with that information as soon as possible.  Ideally, in the first thank you letter.

How long before the second appeal arrives?

There is this downright dangerous idea floating around in nonprofit circles that you shouldn’t be asking people who just gave a gift for another gift.  I think it comes from major donor departments, where the idea makes more sense; if someone gives you a $50,000 gift, you are probably better off giving them some time to rest.  For the typical donor though, the people most likely to give are those that made a gift the most recently.  If you are left hanging for a couple of months after you get your thank you letter; you need to look for why and how to improve your turn around time. 

There’s a reason that every successful retailer uses secret shoppers.  So, be your own.  Make a cash donation to your organization.  By knowing your donor’s experience with your organization, you can maintain and develop your core group of dedicated donors and improve your overall donor retention

Katapult MarketingSelf-examination