Like many people, I receive all kinds of requests for donations in the mail. And there are certain ones, mostly local, that I support every year with a gift of $25 or $50.

When tax season rolled around this year, I tallied up my various donations from the previous year and was surprised by how much I’d actually contributed without feeling like I’d done anything important.

I also realized that, aside from a generic thank-you note and the occasional newsletter, I hadn’t heard from those organizations until their next request for donations.

Why does this matter? Because I’m capable of giving more than $25 to any one of these organizations.

I’d gladly put ALL of my annual donor dollars (and more!) into one organization’s bucket if they would only inspire me to do so. But does anyone even know I’m out here?

I realize many organizations probably focus their personal cultivation on major gifts, but it’s a real mistake to overlook your annual fund donors. Think of the untapped – yet to be inspired – potential! Do you know why your annual fund donors support your organization?

Do you know who is supporting your organization, at every level? Who are you overlooking?

Don’t spend any time guessing! Instead, pull a list of some of your regular $25 donors and start a conversation with them. Let the tactics below inspire your efforts to unleash the potential of your annual fund donors. I bet it’ll be worth your time.


Spice things up a bit – CALL a donor to thank them personally


Ask the donor WHY they gave. Start a conversation!


Invite a donor on site to learn more.


Ask/challenge a donor to consider increasing their gift this year.

Susan Harms, CFRM

Susan Harms, CFRM

Chief Operating Officer at Aly Sterling Philanthropy
Susan Harms is a skilled relationship-builder and business planner, using her background in marketing, business development and strategic partnerships to ensure that Aly Sterling Philanthropy is well-positioned to meet the emerging needs of the nonprofit sector. More about Susan..
Susan Harms, CFRM

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