As you logged into your computer or the donor database today, you were probably thinking ahead to what was on your to-do list – the urgent, the necessary, and the things you really wanted to do but keep putting off because of the other two categories.

Regardless of what’s waiting to be done, there are four things every fundraiser should reflect on every day to be as effective as possible.

  1. Define what a successful donor experience looks like, and then champion it every day, in every meeting, and in each decision you make that impacts a donor or influences the relationship between the donor and your charity. Will that decision make her or him feel like this is an organization that values the donor above corporate efficiencies? Yes, donors give because of altruistic reasons, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to feel appreciated.
  2. Recommit to profusely saying “thank you” and making this a top priority. Some organizations do a great job receipting donors and showing gratitude throughout the year. But others view this as an “expense” that simply adds to the overhead. Fundraisers need to be passionate about saying thank you, and they need to make sure their attitude is so contagious the senior leadership “catches” it. Year-end is coming; what is your plan to be timely in your receipting and authentic in your expression of gratitude?
  3. Seek ways to make giving easy. Donors are very forgiving, but that’s not an excuse to make it next to impossible to give to you. Online or offline, donors should find that giving is extremely easy. Do you regularly go to and place an order? While you may not be able to recreate the Amazon experience on your own website, use the simplicity as an aspirational model for your organization.
  4. Be ready to share the good news. Every fundraiser needs a story – a story of why a gift to your organization is a brilliant decision. If you have been recycling the same stories for months, commit to telling new stories on a regular basis so you are always ready to encourage a donor when he or she calls or writes or when you are face-to-face with them.

As you begin your day, take a few minutes to review these four tips. They can be the difference between energizing loyal and generous donors – and the constant ho-hum experience that characterizes too many fundraising programs.