Filing/Data Entry

Filing/Data Entry

Many land trusts use Board members or other volunteers to write personal messages on select fall appeal letters. The note conveys that we all know this is a form letter, but at least one person is paying special attention to how you, in particular, respond.

If you are one of these land trusts, make sure you record who wrote notes on which appeal letters in your database.


Fundraiser’s Almanac: September

Fundraiser’s Almanac – October

  • Donor Appreciation Events
  • Taking Stock
  • Fall Appeal 1st Drop
  • Tracking “Soft Credits”


These database connections are called “soft credits” (as opposed to direct or “hard” credits). Most fundraising software includes a way to assign soft credits to specific individuals, and keeping track of such information can open several cultivation doors for you.

When the donor makes a gift, they obviously get the direct credit for what they actually gave. But the note-writer also gets the soft credit. There are many variations on this theme:

  • Assigned solicitors (or note-writers) get soft credit for the money they participate in raising.
  • Donors get soft credit for company matching gifts they trigger.
  • Grantwriters get soft credit for foundation grants they successfully leverage.

You can use the information to:

  • Have the same person write the thank you letter who wrote the original note;
  • Use the same note-writer several years in a row with the same donors;
  • Recognize board members and other fundraising volunteers for the money they actually raise;
  • Thank donors again for the matching gifts they leverage; and
  • Remind them about their company match next year if they forget.

Soft credits are a way of tracking relationships. Since relationships are the key to successfully cultivating donors and elevating their giving, keeping track of these relationships and using that information to help grow those relationships will raise more funds for your organization over the long-term.

Are you using soft credits in an innovative way?




Photo courtesy of Grandon Harris, Bayfield Regional Conservancy.


Find out how David can help you with your donor cultivation here.

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