20 Mar 2015
Are your donors left asking “did my gift make a difference?”
How well are you thanking your donors?
As Brits, we are always minding our P’s and Q’s, and making sure our kids say the ‘magic’ word. In a recent survey, 95% of us claimed manners really are important and there’s not a day that goes by that we’re not thanking someone for something.
As fundraisers, we put so much effort into asking for donations. We know what we want to say, how to write it effectively and how to target our audiences. We spend so much time learning about acquisition, copy writing techniques, what creative direction to go in and so on. However, some of us still struggle to find the right balance as to when and whom to acknowledge when those gifts are received.
The simple fact is that an appropriate thank you letter is perhaps the best fundraising opportunity of all. Rather than thinking of it as a separate entity, thanking should be part of a much larger retention strategy. Because thanking is so much more than just manners. To fundraisers, used effectively, it really can be a ‘magic’ word.
Here are some top tips on getting your thank you letter working for you:
Gaining your donor’s trust
Too often, we forfeit a potentially great donor engagement opportunity, by simply filling a thank you letter or email with transactional details. This is important. It gains trust and confidence. However, getting this right is just the first step.
Let the impact take centre stage
Rather than focussing on just the gift details, tell your donors how important their gift was and how you are going to use their hard earned cash! Put those transactional details below the context of the impact. Remind your donors how their money will make a difference. Spell it out for them so they feel good about their donation.
Surprise your donors!
Stand out from all the other thank you letters they receive and think outside the box. Think about using different fonts or letter set up. A great thank you email could start with a personal acknowledgement, rather than a typical ‘Dear’, think about using ‘Wow, thank you. You just entered yourself into an amazing raffle, and by doing so have given 3 children in Africa the chance to be immunised against the measles. You are wonderful.’ Choose your tone appropriately for your audience and make your donors feel good!
Timing is crucial
Get your acknowledgement out as quickly as you can. Don’t wait until next Monday’s post! Prompt response gets your relationship off to the best possible start and solidifies existing ones. Make your donors feel important by going the extra mile to get it out the door!
And remember, if you ask well, you get one donation. If you thank well, you may get a lifetime of donations. So, let that thank you letter work its ‘magic’!