The importance of viewing donor gratitude as an investment in NPO’s is the topic in this chat with Lynne Wester, the principal of Donor Relations Group. Lynne joined us to share her insights on donor retention and how gratitude plays a significant role in it.

Lynne starts the conversation by highlighting the power of gratitude and its various forms of expression, emphasizing that donors need to be thanked consistently and genuinely. She shares a personal anecdote about her upbringing and how her mother instilled gratitude in her from a young age, connecting it to her career in donor relations.

The hosts and Lynne review the misconception that gratitude is a seasonal gesture, particularly around the holidays, and how it should be a continuous practice embedded in an organization’s culture. Lynne stresses that “gratitude is a lifestyle choice”, which, when embraced, not only makes individuals happier but also encourages donors to remain loyal to an organization.

They touch base onto the question of whether gratitude is generational, with Lynne noting that it’s more about industry practices than generational differences. She emphasizes the need for nonprofits to prioritize gratitude and pointed out that treating donors with appreciation should precede building a culture of philanthropy.

Lynne goes on to say that gratitude should not be confined to specific seasons, calling for a shift in mindset, where nonprofits focus on fostering an “attitude of gratitude” before striving for a full-fledged culture of philanthropy, then pointing out that gratitude is one of the foundational elements of retaining donors, she shared the concept of “seven thank-you’s before an ask”, underscoring that donor retention is more critical than the amount of money raised.

The discussion wraps up with an emphasis on tangible tools like thank-you notes and the long-lasting impact they can have on donors. Lynne also speaks about her podcast, “Fundraising is Funny,” where she and her co-host humorously explore the quirks and challenges of the fundraising profession.