February 2021 — In Service: The Column of the ADRP President

Keri KallawayKeri Kallaway
Senior Director, Donor Relations and Gift Services
Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation

Dear fellow ADRPers,

I am thrilled that this month’s issue of The Hub is focused on one of my favorite elements of our professional world: reporting!

There is an art and science to donor relations and one of the core functions of a best-in-class program is impact reporting.  Impact reporting is critical to donor retention and donor loyalty. Illustrating donor impact helps to build trust with those who invest in our organizations and mission, and building that trusting relationship is cultivation for the next gift. We owe it to our donors to communicate how their philanthropy makes a difference.

Let’s take the Donor Bill of Rights. Created by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Giving Institute: Leading Consultants to Non-Profits, the Donor Bill of Rights declares that donors have ten rights – expectations they can assume once they CHOOSE to support a nonprofit. Number IV states: “To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.” So, how do we assure donors that we’ve followed their intent? Impact reporting.

I think it's fair to say that impact reporting comes in all shapes and sizes depending on several factors including staff resources, budget, and technology, and it certainly has evolved over the years. Most recently, because of our remote workplace setting, many of us have had to shift to digital reporting.

Digital reporting can bring many positives to this process. It can bring efficiency, the ability to report in higher volumes with a streamlined approach, and added engagement tools like videos, to name a few. And, digital reporting can also allow for measurements. Ever wonder if a donor reads an impact report you spent several hours producing? Some technology and platforms allow you analyze success by measuring open and clickthrough rates.

While I do enjoy the ease of digital reporting, I can honestly say that I also love the good old-fashioned, nicely designed printed piece that allows me to include a handwritten note of gratitude along with an impact report. I’ve learned, at least within the donor community of Children’s Colorado, that there will be donors who prefer one format over the other. Nonetheless, as long a donor feels they’ve made a difference with their philanthropy – our jobs are done.

I encourage you to explore what works for you and your institution. There are countless resources available to you including your network of ADRP members who, I’m sure, are willing to share their experiences. In fact, join us for the March 10 webinar led by Andrew Bambrough and Abby Fox of Oklahoma State University Foundation as they walk us through their impact reporting process.

Until March!

Yours in gratitude,

Keri Kallaway

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