Giving your hard-earned dollars to a worthy cause is a great thing. In the ideal situation, you’re helping alleviate some kind of need or contributing to an organization you truly believe in. Have you made a donation before? It’s a feel-good moment, right? Perhaps you haven’t had the chance to give, but you’re considering donating to an organization for the first time. As a donor, there are certain actions and experiences you’re entitled to.
Here are eight things you should expect when you donate to a nonprofit:
1. A Donor-Friendly Website
Maybe you’ve received a letter or email asking you to give. Perhaps a friend or family member is asking you to donate to a cause. Either way, one of your most basic expectations should be an easy, donor-friendly website. These are just a few of the things an organization’s website should have:
- Contact Information: names, emails and phone numbers, in case you have questions
- Upcoming events: easily view what’s going on, including events and news about the organization
- A simple, easy-to-use donation page: a secure donation page that is easy to fill out and submits with no issues
2. Being A Hero
In the nonprofit world, organizations celebrate their hero: you, the donor! Or at least they should. Without you, caring for the elderly, bringing arts to a community, reviving neighborhoods or whatever the mission is wouldn’t happen. You are powerful player in a nonprofit’s world.
I recently made a donation to help start a community garden that my friend was clearly working hard to develop for her neighborhood. As soon as I made my donation, I received an immediate thank-you and receipt. Over the next three days, I received two additional emails – one from my friend who was leading the project and the other from her co-garden founder. I also received shoutouts on Twitter and Facebook. That experience certainly put the hero cape on my back.
3. A Speedy Thank-You And Gift Receipt
With your gift, you should expect a thank-you letter or email as well as a gift receipt within a week of your donation. What will this look like?
It will be addressed and customized to you and your gift, including information about deducting your donation from your taxes. Bonus points if it includes a handwritten note expressing additional gratitude. In addition, a thank-you phone call from a volunteer, staff or board member may also come your way.
You’ve donated. What happened to your investment? That’s right, an investment. Your donation says that you want to invest in that organization’s mission, that you believe what they believe. As with any investment, we want to see the return on our dollars at work.
Most nonprofits detail how donor gifts made a difference in their annual reports. Annual reports can come at different times during the year depending on the nonprofit’s fiscal year.
Some nonprofits go above and beyond and send donors information on their gifts at work. “Because of you, Sally was able to wear a job-appropriate outfit to her interview. Here she is on her first day! You helped her land the job, and that job changes everything for Sally and her family.”
That’s the kind of information we as donors love to see.
5. Follow-Up Communication
We all know that most nonprofits must fundraise to survive. It’s hard to fault them for asking for our gift. But we should expect more than gift solicitations. As a donor, we are stepping up to say that we care about the cause. And much like anything else we care about, we want to know how things are going.
You should expect feel-good stories about who the organization is helping. I love to share that on social media. You want to know when the pantry is getting low so you can drop off the extra canned goods you have at home. And the nonprofit should let you know about new staff and board members. We might like to meet them at some point.
You should expect to have a reciprocal relationship with nonprofits receiving our gifts, to become an important member of their family.
6. The Opportunity To Take More Action
As a donor, if you want to get hands-on with an organization’s mission, you should have that opportunity. This ranges from meeting with a staff member, helping spread their mission via social media to volunteering with direct services. All of these things will strengthen your relationship and appreciation for the mission of an organization. If you’re looking to learn and do more, just ask.
7. Stories And Stats
It is always great to see that a nonprofit is measuring its work through quantitative data. It is comforting to know that 200 trees were planted, that 50 dogs found loving homes and that a classroom of 45 students went on a field trip – all thanks to donors like us.
But as donors, we want something deeper. Remember, we donate because we believe what the organization believes. If you believe that all children deserve access to quality food, and an organization has said that it is their belief, too, you want to hear about it.
“Natalie, because of you and your gift to Quality Food for Kids, Johnny was able to visit our garden at his school. He picked his own food, learned how to wash and prep and enjoyed a quality meal. You made this photo possible.”
And you should expect to see real photos of real people.
8. The Good And The Bad
As with life, not all things are sunshine and smiles. We know that with successes come failures. We want to know about both. Organizations should let you know that they didn’t meet their goals or that a program didn’t achieve its desired outcomes; you might be able to help.
We get it, we aren’t perfect either. But thankfully, we are both here to make a positive difference for meaningful causes.
Are you part of a nonprofit organization that needs help meeting these donor expectations? Achieve is here to help. Our research and campaign services are perfect for organizations and companies looking to reach new audiences and inspire action.