You know those sound machines that create white noise and block out all the other sounds around them? That’s what’s happening to your donors right now because everyone is following the same donor communication strategy.

Let’s be real, your donors are getting a lot of communication from dozens of non-profits all asking for help, and many are tuning out because it starts to feel like “white noise” to them.

How do you break out of the “white-noise sound machine” that your donors are experiencing during this busy fall giving season? I have four ideas that are proven to help you stand out with your donors. Yes, proven, because we’ve have used all four tactics to great success over the years with hundreds of clients.

You can’t bore your donors into giving. But that is what many frontline fundraisers do because they feel they just have to get something out in front of donors and then they can check off a box saying they communicated to their donors.

Don’t be like those fundraisers. Be different, be creative, and stand out.

Here are four ways you can stand out amidst all the noise your donors are hearing with touch points that are highly personalized to your donor.

  1. Simple, personalized video you make from your phone

    This is easy, simple, highly personal, and VERY effective. I don’t know why frontline fundraisers don’t create more of these, but you can make a simple video thanking your donor for their partnership, highlighting very quickly what their gifts have done in 2022, and then giving the donor a preview of what’s going to happen in the coming year. If you focus these videos for your Tier A donors, you can send one to each donor that is personalized for them! Each video is no more than 1 minute, but it will make a huge impact on the donor and it will stand out.

  2. Personalized Impact Report

    I’m not talking about a long-winded, boring report here. Have your communications team help you put together a highly visual impact report for your donors with tons of photos, graphics, and interesting statistics that the donor can quickly scan to understand how their gifts made a difference. You can send out as a PDF and email the report, and/or send it out in the mail.

  3. November Giving Report

    In early to mid-November, create a letter for each donor in your portfolio that gives them a summary of their giving to-date. Make sure you have the correct date received and amount for gifts given in 2022 so far. Ask the donor to review to make sure it’s correct and to contact you if something is wrong. This does two things: 1) It’s helpful for the donor for tax purposes, and 2) it gently reminds donors that they can still give before the year ends. Make sure you include your contact information so the donor can call you with any questions or concerns.

  4. Thanksgiving Card

    Every non-profit sends a holiday card which they usually mail right after Thanksgiving. If you want to stand out, send a handwritten, hand-addressed Thanksgiving Card that gets in the donor’s mailbox BEFORE Thanksgiving. This will make an impact on the donor because it will come prior to the rush of the holiday. Every donor will read this card because nothing stands out in the mail like REAL mail.

Stand out, surprise, and delight your donors before 2022 comes to a close. Integrating these four ideas into your donor communication strategy will engage your donors in an authentic, genuine way.


PS — As you make your year-end outreach plans, make sure to check out this recent post from my colleague Drew Coursin about some common mistakes we see at year-end, and how you can avoid them.