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When it comes to your donors the list of things you want to do or will do is probably quite long (hopefully it involves showing gratitude to them, telling great stories and treating them like heroes) but have you ever thought about what you will never do to donors?

The company I’m working for, Charity Express (yes, we finally have a website…), and other sister companies like Chimp and Peer Giving Solutions have been going through some exercises on culture development recently and one of them asked us to list our cultural constraints. These are the things we will never do like “put our success ahead of our clients success” and “make the same mistakes twice”. I found the exercise very useful as there are  many things that you SHOULD do but the list of things that you really should never do is often easier to list and shorter.

I’m a big fan of constraint thinking and find it to be a great way to spur creativity and get unstuck and I’d encourage you to use it to think about how you treat your donors in the form of stewardship, gratitude, customer service, recognition, etc. Here’s

7 Ideas for Things You May Never Do To Donors

  1. Never go more than 6 months without a thank you
  2. Never send another direct mail appeal without a direct mail thank you (no ask)
  3. Never go more than a week without calling a donor and saying thanks
  4. Never treat them like a resource instead of a person
  5. Never go more than 1 month without a story from people their donations are supporting
  6. Never lie, oversell or mislead them for the sake of more donations
  7. Never disrespect a donors wish to be anonymous, stop receiving information or be removed from a mailing list

So next time you are thinking about how you can improve donor care (and you should as our retention rates are horrible!) definitely think about the things you can and want to do but don’t forget to think about the things that you will never do.

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