Ever wonder if thanking donors is as universal as it seems? Maybe not. Recently, I sent a first-time donation to an organization and, believe it or not, did not get a note of appreciation for a solid 7 weeks. So, is that acceptable or not? Generally, the rule of thumb is to thank donors within 48 hours of receiving their generosity while it is still fresh in their minds.
According to some researchers, a staggering 65% of first-time donors never make a second contribution when they feel unappreciated. As a matter of fact, 80% of donors say they would give a second gift if they received a simple “thank you” and information on how their first donation made an impact.
The Power of a Personal Touch:
Beyond the obligatory IRS-compliant acknowledgment letters, there are creative ways to show appreciation. Personalized thank you notes handwritten by board members, staff, or volunteers, add a touch of sincerity. Perhaps instead of a handwritten note, a phone call from a board member expressing gratitude can be equally impactful and foster a genuine connection.
Some other creative thank-you strategies:
- Capture Moments: Include photos of clients (with proper consent) to bring life to the impact of donations.
- Words from the Heart: Include notes from clients thanking donors directly.
- Impact Updates: Share details about how funds were used.
- Social Media: With permission, publicly acknowledge donors on social media platforms.
- Appreciation Event: Host a donor appreciation event providing an opportunity for community connection.
Above all, be sincere in your appreciation of a donor’s gift. Thank-you letters should be heartfelt and void of additional fundraising requests (either directly or implied). Take the time to understand your donors—this knowledge will ensure that expressions of gratitude are not only timely but also deeply meaningful.
As you navigate the delicate art of donor appreciation, remember that a simple “thank you” holds the potential to transform a one-time contributor into a long-term supporter.
Do you have a unique way of expressing gratitude? Email me with your stories; I’m eager to hear how you say thanks.