Earning the privilege of donations Posted: October 05, 2012

A few things have become increasingly clear as we here at OLHSA have focused more on fundraising in the last few years...  Donations are hard to come by.  In a still-uncertain economy nonprofits have to work very hard to earn every dollar given.  Donors want to feel part of the cause they are giving to.  They want to know that their hard earned dollars are going far, and it’s our duty to prove that.  And despite economic challenges, people want to give. Though wallets are heavily burdened, generosity lives on in the hearts of our neighbors. In these facts we see an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with our supporters, to help enrich their lives through a chance to make a difference, and to help OLHSA help more people and change more lives by earning the privilege of private donations.


In order to develop this mutually beneficial opportunity, we recognize that certain fundraising best practices must be accomplished.  Recognizing them is an important first step, and we’re working hard every day to perfect them…


  • Treat every donor and volunteer like a stake-holder in your organization.  We are in an age of authentic marketing.  That means that consumers of products and donors to nonprofits need to feel like they are valued, like their opinions matter and are heard, and that the company or nonprofit they are working with cares about its supporters.  This means asking your donors what they think about your organization.  Receiving their feedback and then acting on the best suggestions shows them through open lines of communication that they are more than just a check.
  • Show the impact of donations.  To build off the above point, seeing the difference a donation makes does wonders to make a donor feel valuable and ensure a continued relationship.  Uplift them with inspiring stories of success spurred from donations like theirs.  Introduce donors to clients who are proud to tell their story.  Invite donors to visit your facility for a day and meet the people you’re helping.  In all of these ways donors will be able to feel, rather than just be told, how far their donations go to help those in need.
  • Thank your donors.  This one seems stupid simple, right?  Wrong.  When you’re holding a fundraising event with 1,000 or more attendees, getting donations processed and thank you letters generated in a timely manner can be near impossible for a nonprofit full of already over-worked staff.  We’ve felt the pain of this challenge.  In 2011 funding cuts and staff layoffs caused Walk for Warmth thank you letters to go out way too late.  Though unavoidable, it was nonetheless unfortunate.  Thanking donors promptly and sincerely, with phone calls and hand written notes when possible, is essential to continuing authentic relationships. 


With these strategies and more OLHSA is working hard every day to be a nonprofit worthy of private donations.  In the spirit of our above advice, if there is anything we can do better, please let us know!  Email info@olhsa.org