Blog Series: Level-Up Your Fundraising, Memorial Gifts

Welcome to part 4 of our blog series, "Level-Up Your Fundraising."

This series is created to help you raise more money with less stress and hassle for your team members. These tips span the most common strategies used by organizations to support their work and apply to nearly every organization, large or small.

If you missed part 3 which is all about Direct Mail and the "10 Second Club", you can view it here

Part 4: With Memorial Gifts, the Most Important Gift is the Second Gift… You Have to Work for It!

If your nonprofit receives lots of memorial gifts, it can be hard to turn those donors into lifelong givers.  In order to do so, you have to work hard to forge a connection with those donors to earn a second gift. 

If you want a second gift, you need to act fast.

This includes getting your thank you letters out within 24 hours, making the thank-you letter donor-centered instead of organization-centered, and adding in a thank you phone call whenever possible.

You should also consider sending your new memorial donors a welcome kit that includes more information about your organization, a point person they can contact for questions, and things like bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets that reinforce the relationship. Saying “thank you” the right way is the first step of great donor stewardship.

After you thank your memorial donors, it is imperative that you stay top of mind for them. 

This means that you need to communicate with them, on a regular basis, to make sure that they are thinking about you and know that you are thinking about them. Be sure to explain to them the big picture mission of your organization so that they can move beyond that first memorial gift.

Newsletters (snail mail or e-mail), postcards, annual reports, cultivation events, and holiday greeting cards are all ways you can communicate with your donors to build an even stronger relationship.  For larger donors, you can also do one-on-one or group calls as well as in-person meetings and small group events.

Then, relatively quickly (within 1-2 months), ask for the second gift.

If you want a memorial donor to make a second gift to your nonprofit, you have to ask, and do so quickly. For larger memorial gifts, this ask can be done in-person or on the phone. For most of your small and mid-sized memorial gifts, it can be done via snail mail letter.

Posted by Alyssa Pacheco

Alyssa Pacheco is a former Digital Marketing Manager, Nonprofit Solutions at StratusLIVE. She has three years of marketing and communications experience within the technology sector, along with four years of direct nonprofit fundraising experience. “I genuinely enjoy sharing the significant benefits that technology plays for nonprofit organizations in their social good efforts.”