You are likely far from embracing the fall and you’re hopefully still in denial that winter soon follows. But as a fundraiser, I know that you’re already well down the path of planning your fall and dare I say it, holiday giving campaigns.

We work on the same schedule as Costco, always a couple of seasons ahead!

Most fundraisers strive for donor centricity which is just a fancy way of saying that we care about our donor’s experience and making sure that it’s personal, genuine and donor-directed. But how often do we miss some really small details, that unravel all of our other hard work?

I’d like to challenge you to take a moment and go back and do some fine-tuning before the rush season starts. Here’s my list of quick and easy wins – it’s not rocket science and I know you already do most of this – this is just a friendly reminder that now is a great time to make sure that you haven’t missed anything.

  1. Donor Names: Do you have a rogue sticky note reminding you that someone pointed out that their name was spelled incorrectly?
  2. Salutations: Did someone point out that their pronouns were incorrect?
  3. Personalization: Please don’t use “Dear Friend” or “Dear Donor” in your writing. Ever. Even when you can’t personalize, I know that you’re more creative than that!
  4. Donor segments: Clean them! So often a donor ends up in the wrong segment simply because of a data oversight. Fastest way to make your donor think you have no idea who they are! Equally, who is on your list that shouldn’t be (i.e., reminding donors that this is their last chance to give when they already did… ages ago!)?
  5. Respect donor preferences: even when you have a really great story or impact report to share with them. If they’ve told you that they only want to hear from you once a year, respect their wishes.
  6. Thank you’s: If you’re lucky enough to receive a gift, get that thank you out the door promptly, make it genuine and tie it back to the campaign that they gave to. Something about the ask resonated with them, so keep the loving feeling going.

And finally, my parting words of wisdom are to allow yourself the time to really read and digest your letters and email before you release them into the world. Are you being real, genuine and using words that will resonate with your target audience? We shine when we pay attention to the smallest of details and don’t settle for the status quo.