Put yourself in your donor’s shoes.
Sometimes saying thank you is treated as an administrative (boring) necessity. It should be an integral part of building strong donor relationships.
But the really sad thing is it’s so easily fixed!
Think about the little cartoon above. If your thank you letter reads like a brochure about your organization and the great work you do, you’ve totally missed the point.
Thinking about it in more personal terms might help.
Take a little imaginative trip with me:
Your dear friend lives on the other side of the country. The day before your birthday, you receive a package you weren’t expecting.
Oh my gosh! It’s a wonderful, personal, PERFECT gift from your friend.
You’re not nearly so good at remembering birthdays. And you’re not sure you’d know the perfect gift even if you were. You’re so moved by the gift – and even more, by the thought. What a friend!
So the first thing you do is…
- Send a generic “thank you” greeting card with just your signature
- Pick up the phone
Yeah, you’d call.
And gush. And feel even more connected for the whole experience, right?
I know it’s not possible to pick up the phone after every gift.
But you can and should do that – right away – for the donors who are closest to you.
That doesn’t just mean the ones who send the biggest gifts.
Think about the ones who care the most – the loyal donors – whatever the size of their gift. (If a donor had been giving large gifts, but a change in income meant she could only afford smaller gifts, would you decide she cared less?)
And for the rest, you send a letter.
But not a letter about you.
A letter about THEM. How wonderful they are. What amazing things are going to happen because they were so generous. And how you’ll keep them up to date on what their gift makes happen.
The smile on your face when you get the gift? Your donor’s smile should be at least as big when you thank her.
That’s not a task. That’s your job – building relationships for your cause.