Monday Mixtape 009: Donor Appreciation and Cultivation Tips

Monday Mixtape 009: Donor Appreciation and Cultivation Tips

Here’s your Monday Mixtape, a weekly newsletter from CauseVox designed to jumpstart your week, challenge your thinking, and inspire you to keep at it.

Each week, we’ll hand-pick must-read articles, thinking, resources, and stories for nonprofit fundraisers and leaders and drop it in your inbox. Have suggestions or questions? Let us know at Enjoy this week’s Mixtape!

Are you ready to be a donor appreciation rockstar? A superhero of stewardship? A connoisseur of cultivation?

You know donor appreciation is a big deal. It impacts retention, the lifetime value of donors, and how donors feel about you, plain and simple. Donors who feel appreciated stick around and they tend to give more and larger gifts over time. Donors who feel taken for granted or ignored…don’t.

“Awesome, cool, thanks for that,” I can hear you saying, “But how do I appreciate my donors in new and creative ways, without it taking over my entire life and wrecking my already overbooked schedule?”


This week’s mixtape is chock-full of tips, tricks, and new ideas (plus one horror story) for reaching out, saying “thank you,” and making sure your donors know how important they are.

Here’s the Week’s Mix:

“We ought to be vigilantes for kindness and consideration.” –Letitia Baldrige

Track #1: When Charities Fail Donors by Rory Green at Bloomerang

First off, the horror story. A truly harrowing tale of how a donor couple gave to 12 nonprofits, and the mostly lackluster responses they received. It’s BAD, folks. If you’ve ever thought, “The thank you is just for taxes, no one even cares about it,” this post will change your mind.

Track #2: Are You “Delighting” Your Donors? by Tina Jepson, at CauseVox

Let’s recover from that stewardship nightmare by considering just how to go about engaging donors. Tina’s post lays out how to communicate not just well, but delightfully. Don’t let the title fool you–this is not just a warm fuzzy post. Tina examines multiple communication channels and ways to leverage your donor data to give donors a personal and positive experience with your organization.

Weekly Wow: Testicular Cancer Foundation

If you want to hear from someone who really understands the value of engaging supporters, check out this interview with Kenny Kane, CEO of the Testicular Cancer Foundation.

He’s rallied hundreds of people to advocate and fundraise, by focusing on ideal donors and crafting messages to reach them.

Track #3: 5 Steps to Thanking Donors So They’ll Never Forget You by Mary Cahalane at

Folks, I’m on a mission to rid the nonprofit sphere of the “Dear Friend” thank you letter. Are you with me? These 5 steps will get us closer. Mary outlines how to center the donor in the thank you letter, focus on outcomes rather than outputs, and keep things personal. I think it would be a great tool for revising your current letter, as well as writing new ones.

Track #4: How To Effectively Engage And Retain Your Donors in 2018 by Noah Barnett and Steven Shattuck at CauseVox

So why don’t donors give again? Is there anything you can do about it? The answers are, respectively, “Several reasons,” and “Yes, quite a bit.” Noah and Steven break it all down in this hour-long webinar, designed to help you boost your donor retention and make 2018 your most donor-engaging year yet.

Bonus Tracks

For diving in right now … here are 20 unique donor thank you ideas.

For thank you note inspiration …

For cultivating gratitude … watch this video that notes that happiness is fueled by gratitude.


By The Way…

How much do you raise through email? On average, nearly 28% of all online giving is attributed to email fundraising. This is huge, however, email fundraising is tough to grow.

The fight for attention in an increasingly crowded inbox is fierce and attention (the new currency we should all be after) is finite.

So, we’re partnering with Brady Josephson from NextAfter, a nonprofit fundraising optimization firm, to host a 45-minute training all about email fundraising optimization.

Dozens of nonprofit fundraisers and leader have already registered.

You can learn more and save your spot here.

Thanks for reading!

– Megan

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P.S. Questions about this week’s mix? Suggestions for next week? Don’t leave me in the dark. Let me know by emailing me at

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