I have a confession to make.
Once upon a time I did not say thank-you to a donor. It’s a complicated story that I won’t bore you with here but the summary is that the donor was extremely angry, I was mortified and my organization nearly lost the gift.
I learned, the hard way, the first rule of fundraising: No matter what, first, always, simply, say thanks.
Here’s the low-down on the highlights of thanking each person who makes a gift of any sort to your organization.
- Be quick about it. You should aim to send a thank-you notification within 48 hours.
- Be formal at least once. Donors who make tax-deductible gifts should receive a letter that can be used for tax reporting purposes.
- Rinse and repeat. Say thank-you more than once and you will stand out from the crowd. I once received three different thank-you communications for the same gift – wow, I gave again the next year, happily and eagerly.
- Mean it. Be personal and personable, be sincere and specific. Briefly describe how the gift makes a difference to your organization.
- Give it some flair. Hey, share some of your nonprofit passion and creativity. Use email, video, photos, text messages and handwritten notes.
- Make it a party. Involve others in saying thank-you, including volunteers and board members. Have a thank-you-letter signing party. Give a two-sentence telephone script to board members and ask them to thank a few donors. Simone Joyaux writing in the Dec. 6, 2014, issue of Nonprofit Quarterly, suggests that making a call is currently an under-used method and thus a pleasant surprise to donors.
So, take a cue from Elvis and say, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”
The Nonprofit Quarterly article mentioned above can be found at this link.
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