I just got a birthday card from Stony Brook University (one of my three almae matres -- or alma maters if you prefer). It was very nice of them. Just a card. No ask for money, not even a return envelope. And it arrived near my birthday.
Smart move on their part. Even though the mailing -- which I'll guess cost somewhere over a dollar each -- is unlikely to generate gifts directly, it's an investment in the relationship:
- It treats the donor as a human being.
- It puts the university in front of the donor.
- The theme and feeling of the card is relevant to an alumnus.
- It's just plain polite.
Will I be more favorably disposed to give next time Stony Brook asks for my money? You bet!
That's Donor Power: It's not all about money. It's about relationship, connection, and common mission. So find appropriate ways to shower donors with love and attention. Show them that they're more than faceless ATMs for your organization. (And if you went to Stony Brook, give the university a gift.)