People like to feel appreciated. And when you show your appreciation with a personal note, they feel a closer connection to your business or non-profit organization, which can prompt another purchase or donation.
The above statement is especially true in fundraising. Tests done by a major fundraiser reveal that quality thank-you letters outperform the typical when it comes to rate of renewal and average gift value**. Another fundraiser made almost $450,000 more in gifts with the inclusion of a thank-you note!***
Now, you’re probably thinking, what makes up a quality thank-you? Here are some DO’s and one big DON’T that will make things very clear – and quite possibly improve your donor retention rates.*
1. Send a REAL letter: No preprinted card or boilerplate copy. It must be personal.
2. Get to it right away: That means within days (not weeks or months) of the giving.
3. Use the name of the person who gave the donation. You’re starting a relationship, so no “Dear Donor” or “Dear Friend.”
4.Inform: Thank the donor for the gift and give details on how the funds will be used to make a difference.
5. Deepen the connection: Let the donor know when to expect an update—and keep your promise.
6. Be warm & positive: Invite the donor to contact you directly for more information. Or include the name and phone number of a staff person to contact at any time.
7. Make it short: A one-sided letter that speaks sincerely and succinctly will do the job.
8. Honor your donor: Get someone high in the organization to sign the letter.
Do not sell, do not send a survey, do not ask for another gift. Save that for another time.
So, start writing those great thank-you’s now. And if you’d like to have my team evaluate them, send them to me. We’ll be glad to take a look.
***Tom Ahern article: “No thanks? No, thanks!”; **Tom Belford article; “OK, “Thank You!”;
*Penelope Burk article, “Thank You Letters: Powerful and Profitable”.