You have an opportunity, every time someone clicks on that donate button and sends you a gift, or they take time to write out a check and send you their gift through the mail.
The opportunity is to make them FEEL GREAT for the action they just took. Unfortunately, donor acknowledgment doesn’t get much discussion or planning time at many organizations. The letters get printed and signed and shipped out but no one makes sure they are doing their real job.
It’s been a few years now, but I still remember sitting at my desk, after just making a $100 or so contribution to a local organization that tugs at my heart with their incredible work. It was less than 2 seconds and into my inbox popped the email titled: You helped a child today.
I was shocked at how poignant the subject line was. I opened the message quickly and went on to read a short message from the Executive Director before all the regular online contribution mumbo jumbo.
I have to say, I felt so terrific when I saw that email come in, I actually felt like making another contribution so I could get that warm feeling again!
As you draft your thank you letters or craft that auto email reply please pay attention. Please take the time to put some of your real feelings into them.
Here are my 7 suggestions for upping the game in your donor acknowledgement by causing your supporters to FEEL GREAT:
1. Craft a meaningful subject line that is authentic and about your mission.
e.g. You helped a child today or You made a Veteran smile today or??
2. Put the reader in the first sentence and in each paragraph.
e.g. Thank you for your generous contribution of $xx. Your gift will make it possible for Henry to…
3. Remind me what or who your appeal was about.
Mention Henry’s name or the program you told me about in your appeal.
4. Send the acknowledgement letter or note QUICKLY.
Immediate acknowledgment for online giving…making sure to follow the first 3 actions on this list.
Within three days for gifts received via mail. One week at the MOST.
5. Thank via the method they gave.
If I give online you do not need to (and personally I don’t want you to) send me a letter. An email is fine!
If I take the time to find a check, sign it, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and mail it, you better do the same thing with my thank you letter.
6. Share a financial update on how your appeal or campaign is doing if it’s not yet finished. Not an “ask”. . . an update.
I’ve watched donors make a 2nd gift when they learn how close the campaign is to reaching the goal. Don’t shy away from sharing the financial updates.
7. My favorite: Send a thank you for no reason at all.
Pictured above and below here are the best thank you’s that have crossed my desk in the past few months. They are fun, friendly, and personal. And they make me smile when I look at them. How are YOU making YOUR donors feel today?