Someone once asked this question on the social news aggregation site, Reddit: “What did you find out about your deceased friend or relative while going through their stuff?”
One user, VIPERsssss, left a heartfelt comment regarding the passing of his wife: “My wife left incredibly loving statements about me in her diary. I still haven’t been able to get through reading the whole thing, but I did flip to the back and found where she wrote, ‘I knew you’d look back here. Thank you for slumming it with me all these years.’ For the record, I’ve never ‘slummed’ a day in my life.”
The passing of a loved one is one of the hardest parts of life any of us has to go through. Your life won’t feel the same after they’re gone, like something’s missing. Friends and family will often gather together to mourn and celebrate the deceased. Oftentimes you’ll learn things about a loved one you didn’t know beforehand. Because of this, it can be a very enlightening experience.
The Legacies Of Donors
When tasked with going through the belongings of a loved one, people inevitably encounter information they didn’t know. Working for a nonprofit gives you the opportunity to contribute to the legacies of your donors. So it’s important to know if one of them passes. One (self-serving) reason is it’s a waste of time and money to try to steward a relationship of someone who has left this world.
A better, and more fulfilling, reason is that identifying a deceased donor provides the opportunity to contact their relatives and let them know how that person contributed to your organization. They’ll learn their loved one did what they could to make a difference in the world, so that gesture can make a lasting impact.
Create a personal letter with details about the projects and services your nonprofit provided during the time your donor participated. Share what would not have been possible without donors like them.
Suppression services compare the names and addresses of individuals in your donor database against public records of deceased individuals. They provide deceased dates which allows you to identify deceased constituents and mark them as such in your database. Paying for these services is worth the investment.
Connecting with the donor’s loved ones gives you the chance to steward a relationship with people who may believe in the same causes. I’m not advocating engaging with relatives of the deceased in order to foster new donors. If you’re working with a nonprofit, chances are you want to make a difference in the world. This is your chance to contribute to a legacy and to make families happier. If these people become more aware of your organization, that’s an indirect bonus of reaching out.
Websites like Melissa’s Suppression Services exist to provide ways to thin out your mailing lists so only those you desire to contact remain. But note that we are not affiliated with this website. So I recommend doing some research to find the service that best suits your needs.
To take advantage of a suppression service, you need a reliable database. Consider one that will allow you to thoroughly and successfully manage your donors, such as Aplos Donor Management Software.