Everyone knows that donors need to be thanked, right? Well, maybe not. I recently made a donation to an organization and did not receive an acknowledgement of my gift for 7 weeks, acceptable or no? Generally, the rule of thumb is to have donors thanked within 48 hours of receiving their gift. This ensures that the gift is still fresh in their mind. According to some researchers, 65% of all first-time donors never make a second gift to an organization. When asked why, many indicate that they didn’t receive a “thank you” and would have liked to receive information about how their gift was used. As a matter of fact, 80% of donors say that if they received a thank you letter and some information about how the gift was used they would give a second gift.
As you think about thanking your donors, below are some tips for success:
Along with the standard letter that meets the IRS requirements for an acknowledgement letter, have a board or staff member or volunteer handwrite a thank you note. Handwritten notes should be personalized for the donor. Perhaps instead of a handwritten note, board members would prefer to make phone calls to donors thanking them for their gifts.
Some other creative strategies you may want to incorporate into your thank you notes:
- Photos of clients (be sure you have a signed photo release on file)
- Notes from clients thanking donors
- An update about how funds were used
- Recognize donors on social media (only name donors with their permission)
- Hold a donor appreciation event.
Above all, be sincere in your appreciation of a donor’s gift. Thank you letters should never include an additional request for funds (either directly or implied). Get to know your donors…doing so will help to ensure that the acknowledgement is sincere and meaningful to the donor.
Do you have a unique way to say thanks? Send me an email, I would love to hear it.