5 Things Every Donor Expects & Deserves

I really miss the days when people sent handwritten letters and notes.

Dear Christian Radio,

I have a confession to make…I uttered those very words the other day and quickly realized I’ve officially turned into my grandmother!

I’m not always a fan of change, but I do accept that change has great value and that I must choose to embrace it in order to provide the best possible experiences for our donors. My team is ever mindful of the ways in which we care for those who partner with us. Times change and technology evolves; even so, there are some elements of donor care that should remain static. There are certain things every donor expects and deserves. The list is quite extensive, but let’s consider the top five:

  1. Donors deserve to be thanked for their support. What’s more, they expect to be acknowledged for their gift. Have you ever sent a gift to someone only to be left wondering if they actually received it? A donor’s feelings are no different. There are multiple ways to express appreciation to donors. At the very least, we should always promptly send a gift receipt. And, when appropriate, a handwritten thank you note from the GM is both proper and grandma approved (yes, she was right).  Gratitude for donors should be intrinsic to any organization.
  2. Donors deserve to know how their gifts are being used. Providing “Proof of Mission” is of high value to donors. Equally, it is a great way to illustrate all the ways your team is connecting with the local community. A picture truly is worth a thousand words especially when it shows your radio ministry partnering and serving alongside other ministries. Donors want to see that your station is out there collecting diapers, back-to-school supplies, disaster relief items, and prom dresses for underprivileged teens. They also value knowing that your team is involved with providing services to the community through events such as a Single Mom Saturday’s car repair. When we strike at the heart of a donor’s passion, we leave them feeling that their gift was a worthy investment.
  3. Donors expect that you will safeguard their information. Will you ever sell my name or information? How do you store my payment information? These are two of the most frequently asked questions we receive from donors. We don’t mind…donors deserve to feel safe when they share their personal information. Hopefully, you already have a set of procedures detailing how your station handles donor data. You should also have something that captures your ongoing efforts to stay PCI compliant. When you can confidently assure donors that your organization never shares their personal information, you build trust. That trust is bolstered even more when they learn that their payment information is stored on and secured by a third party provider. Reminding them that your organization strictly limits access to all donor software lets them know you are serious about their security. Establishing reliable trust with donors is critical to your station’s relationship with them.
  4. Donors expect simplicity and efficiency when giving online. A complicated, time consuming online giving process will result in fewer repeat gifts. We recently asked our leadership team to access our online portal, make a donation, and provide their feedback. It was very enlightening to read their suggestions. As a result of the exercise, we implemented several recommendations. It’s all too easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that our online product is beautiful and effective without taking the time to ask and listen to those who use it the most.
  5. Donors deserve to be treated as more than a checkbook. Over the years, I have formed some of the sweetest friendships with individuals who started out as donors to one of our PAR stations. Donors are people, not checkbooks. That’s why we invite them to events, gift them special opportunities to volunteer, pray with them–and when needed–simply listen. This has blessed their lives, and mine, countless times. Taking the time to get to know donors on a personal level keeps us grounded in the Great Commission. PAR’s mission states, We will change the world by creating and delivering experiences that inspire people to live passionately for Jesus Christ.  It is a mission that applies to all people. Consequently, we can only accomplish it when we commit to seeing beyond the gift and begin connecting with the giver.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Write me at [email protected] and share what you feel your donors deserve and expect.

Dear Christian Radio…

     1. Express gratitude. Acknowledge their gifts.
     2. Communicate Proof of Mission. Ensure donors understand how their gifts are being used.
     3. Build trust. Safeguard their information.
     4. Simplify online giving. Test, evaluate, and refine your online process.
     5. See the person. There is a person behind every gift. Remember…donors are people, not checkbooks.


Kayla Sanders
Vice President of Partner Services
Positive Alternative Radio

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