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The Importance of Membership Support: Building a Stronger Donor Base

By Claire Schnucker

Some tasks are prone to procrastination. For ENF Fundraising Chairs, one of those can be submitting donor lists. Remitting donations to us can be time consuming, but it’s so important, and we really appreciate all the time and work that goes into keeping the ENF up to date on who our donors are.

Why do we care? Let’s break it down.

Knowing how to submit member donations to us is important. Ensuring that donors can be credited for their gift is important. Yet, we continue to receive checks from Lodges without an accompanying list of the members who donated the money. When that happens, the entire donation is credited solely to the Lodge, which means the actual donors aren’t credited, acknowledged, or recognized for their ENF donations.

We want every donor to receive credit for their generosity. You can help by accurately tracking donations from your Lodge’s members, and sharing those lists with us when you send in checks.

For your trouble, you may even qualify for the $500 Gratitude Grant bonus! One way we track our fundraising is with the Membership Support goal. Our goal is to have more than 15 percent of a Lodge’s membership donate $10 or more. Only members with valid addresses are counted toward that goal. We care so much about this metric that we offer a $500 Gratitude Grant bonus to any Lodge that meets this and the National President’s per-member-giving goal.

Intrigued? Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to approach reaching the membership support goal.

Keeping track of member donations may feel like a Herculean task, but it is one of your most important responsibilities. The Fundraising Chair Dashboard includes tools to help you track your members’ gifts.

Help us cut down the number of calls from donors who are upset that their gift wasn’t recognized. Some even choose to never give again because they believe we don’t appreciate their support. Remitting is not an inconsequential step; it is an important part of a process that has repercussions to Lodge reputation and donor finances.

It is a new calendar and tax year. Any donation made within this calendar year should be sent to the ENF within the calendar year with donor information so that members can claim their gifts within the tax year that they are given. As of January 2023, almost half of Chairs have used the ENF Online Remittance Form this fiscal year, while around 17 percent have used the CLMS Remittance forms. CLMS Remittances are specifically for remitting donations received with dues. Any other donations made at the Lodge by members should be recorded in an Online Remittance.

If you are one of those Chairs who excels at raising money—Thank you!—but hasn’t been so great at providing us with the information we need to ensure proper credit for your donors, resolve to do better in 2023! The Online Remittance Form was designed to make submitting donor lists a little easier, but if you’re still daunted by the prospect of a lot of data entry, consider “hiring your donors” to do it for you by encouraging them to give online at Your Lodge will receive the all-important per-member-giving credit, but you won’t have to do the work and the donor will be properly recognized in a timely fashion! That’s a win-win. (Note that every donation to the ENF is automatically attributed to the Elk’s home Lodge and the Lodge’s fundraising goals, no matter how we receive it.)

Membership Support is not arbitrary, and neither is the importance of keeping track of donations for a 501(c)3 like the ENF. A Fundraising Chair’s job is important for the ENF, Lodges and donors. We thank our Chairs and see their hard work and dedication toward helping us reach our goals and keeping us in touch with our donors.

Claire Schnucker is the Elks National Foundation’s Data Visualization Associate, but she began her journey with the ENF in the Donor Services Department, helping Lodges Secretaries and Fundraising Chairs learn the ins and outs of sending the ENF lists of donation information.



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