With Memorial Day just around the corner, it might be a good time to mention a couple of ways you can keep track of memorial gifts in FundRaiser. We call them "Tribute" gifts, and they can be in memory of departed loved ones, or in honor of living individuals, or even in celebration of some life event or other.
For FundRaiser Professional users, there is a built-in module, appropriately called "Tributes" to handle the recording and subsequent correspondence for these types of gifts. In FundRaiser Select, the Tributes module is available as an "add-on" module for a modest price. But even in Spark, which has no specific facility for tribute tracking, one can devise some practices to follow and report on tribute giving. Let's see how they work.
In Pro and Select (w/Tributes), the module allows you to mark a gift as a Tribute. Doing so will open a separate window into an area where you can store details of people being memorialized, including the names, of course, but also details of who, if anyone, is to be notified when a gift in memory of the person is made. These notifications are usually sent on a weekly or monthly basis, and would include mention of all the people who have given a gift in memory of the loved one. They are usually sent to the next of kin of the loved one, and act as a reminder that can be acted upon later if that relative so desires. They can include the addresses of the donors, and even the gift amounts, although that is rarely, if ever, done.
While letters of thanks for the donations are sent out as quickly as possible after each gift, as would be done for any other type of donation, notification letters consolidate all donations given during the week (or month), in order that we don't inundate a grieving relative with multiple notifications. These notification letters are automated, similarly to thank you letters, in order to make the process more efficient, but the letter templates can be as personal as you like, just as with thank you letters.
There is a special report for Tributes, as well, that can be printed, or sent to a file for use with a newsletter or other media. And you have the option to NOT include a donor in the notification letters, if the donor expresses that wish of anonymity, too.
Even in Spark, where no tribute module exists, you can use the Motivation code on the gift to indicate that it is a Tribute (or maybe either "Honor" or "Memory", if you want that distinction), while the Notes section of the gift can be used to record the name of the tribute person. While no automated notification letters are generated, you can certainly create a report that is limited in scope to just those gifts that were tributes.
As you think about how and why your donors give, consider asking them to honor or memorialize their loved ones, and remember that you have the tools to keep track of them and their impact on your overall donation income, using FundRaiser software. This article is adapted from the original by Larry Weaver published in May 2014.
For more information on the Tributes Module see:
- Features of Tributes Module