Gift Giving Season is Over – Disappointed?

Gift Giving Season is Over – Disappointed?

In my house, as in most, the day after Christmas can be a low day on the emotional scale. The brightly papered boxes under the tree that only a few days ago could have been anything are now known. Every once in a while we are truly surprised, but most of the time, knowing what we got also means knowing what we didn’t get.

For many non-profits, the same can be true following the end of the year. Since about August, you’ve plotted and planned, appealed and mailed, orchestrated and delegated – all with a sense of optimism and seasonal good will. By the end of next week, you’ll know what you got – and what you didn’t get – from those efforts.

These next few weeks, take some time to smell the roses. Each check that arrived represents someone who cares about you and the work you are doing. They received a passionate request for help, they carefully considered what they could do, and they sent you what they could, given their capacity and consideration for other interests.

Take the time to ensure they feel appreciated. Make your pro-forma acknowledgment letters that much more personal. Include a line about the difference their gift will make to the mission in 2010 – no matter the size of their gift. Maybe you are fortunate enough to receive a lot of gifts this year – all the more reason to take these next few weeks to personally say thanks.

Divvy up the most important donors amongst the staff and members of the Development Committee and ask each to call one donor a day (it’s OK to leave a message) for the next two weeks – ten donors per person who will receive a call saying thank you. The Executive Director should also call each Board member to thank them personally for their Board service.

To set this up, make sure each caller has the name(s) of the donor(s), a telephone number, and the directive to report back on the results of the call. You will want to retain who called whom, the gist of their conversation, and anything they might have learned.

This is one of the most pleasant tasks in fundraising – and a sure cure for day-after-Christmas-blues. The people you work with and who support you are wonderful people. Take the time to celebrate your collective successes and have a Happy (and safe!) New Year.

As always, your comments, responses, and questions are welcomed here and by email at



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