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The Power of Small Nonprofits

If you’re affiliated with a small nonprofit, you’re probably happy just to have a database, get the mail out on time, use email and get those thank you letters out before the end of the week. The plain and simple truth is if you’re small you can’t do it all.

It’s easy to moan about how you are disadvantaged, but I’d like to suggest you adopt Avis’ slogan: Remember? “We’re #2. We try harder! That’s called turning a disadvantage into an advantage.

So, what’s your advantage? I bet you knowing your donors on a first name basis is one of them. They’re not segments to you(hopefully). They’re people you interact with all the time. This first-hand knowledge should be an advantage because you can offer these donors what they tell you they want. I’ll bet those things will include personal connections, authentic communications about the impact of their gifts, and sincere thanks.

Need some concrete examples of how you can immediately turn the fact that you’re a small nonprofit into a real advantage? Here you go:

  • write personal thank you notes to everyone who gives or at as low a gift level as is feasible;

  • send letters of gratitude or what some call “just because” notes. No gift has to trigger this note, it’s “just because” you happened to think of the donor;

  • try a thankathon (note: not a phonathon, in which money is the reason for the call). Donors are always surprised and relieved when they’re called and simply thanked;

  • ask for recommendations-call and talk to everyone who responds;

  • use surveys to get feedback and learn more about your donors;

  • hold thank you events that are neither fancy nor expensive, in other words, with no ulterior motives;

  • invite donors and others to see your work firsthand via tours and/or volunteer opportunities.

Are there other ways you turn your disadvantages into advantages? Please share right here.

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