Give Thanks
for the Little Things
– in Life and Fundraising

Sarah Ferguson, Senior Vice President of Consulting Services

Are you really thankful for all that comes with having donors?

Each November, I reflect on the many things for which I am thankful. It’s always been easy for me to give thanks for the big things in life: God, my husband, my children, friends, provision, and so forth. But in November, I intentionally look deeper, and I focus in on the little things that comprise the big – it is in this, I desire to be grateful.

For example, I am thankful for my children, but am I really thankful for everything that comes with having children? Toys on the floor. Fingerprints on the wall. Candy wrappers in the couch cushions. Not to mention all of the overhead in food, childcare, and doctor visits. And, yet, I treasure the special moments we have together: playing at the park or snuggled up reading a bedtime story.

The fact is, without all of these little things that come with having children, I wouldn’t really be a parent. And, for this, I am grateful.

In the nonprofit fundraising world, November is the perfect time to reflect on your organization’s donors. Yes, you are thankful for your donors, but are you really thankful for all that comes with having donors? Donors come in all shapes and sizes – both in personality and in wealth – but when you look beyond a donor’s gift and see the person, are you thankful?

It’s easy to be grateful for the donors who give $100,000 a year and don’t ask for anything in return. But, what about the donor who sends in a $5 gift each month and calls your main-line every week to complain? Or, the donor who gives $1,000 but drops by headquarters each month to meet with management and give his/her ideas on how to fulfill your mission?

The fact is, without all of these little things that come with having donors, you wouldn’t really be an organization. Without your donors, your organization wouldn’t have the support it needs to fulfill its mission.

This November, I encourage you to reflect on your donors – look at the little things about them that make up the whole – and then show your thanks.

Look at Joe Smith who lives in a trailer home and works three jobs to support his family, but somehow finds $20 each month to send to your organization. Thank him.

Look at Jane Jones who is recently widowed and lonely, and every week she calls to talk with your membership office and discuss her legacy plans. Thank her.

Reflect. And then thank.

You can send a simple notecard or email or make a phone call. But, whatever you do, be sincere. Genuinely convey your thanks for the valuable part your donor plays in the success of your organization.

Remember, it’s the little things in life that make up the whole. And, for the little things, we give thanks.

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