Giving Thanks To Donors and Friends
And thank you for checking in with Charitable Words. Thanks for being here today, and always.
We’re in the business of helping nonprofits, causes and communities “shape concise, convincing messages and get them to the right audiences.”
There are two words in one of the most important messages you will send to supporters, donors and friends: “Thank you.”
I hear it all the time: “So and so does not want recognition.” Do not believe it. Everyone wants to be thanked. Gushing is not essential. But just a personal “thanks” is noted and appreciated. Even anonymous donors who are adamant that they don’t want recognition, do. Thank your donors, supporters and friends often.
That’s not a call to violate the pact they made with you when they gave a gift. Some people don’t need to or want to show up in event programs, on Facebook or annual reports. But it’s good business practice – and good manners – to say thanks.
I am amazed at how inattentive, ingracious even, some organizations can be. For me, giving a bit and partnering when I can help something I intrinsically enjoy. That’s my reward whether recognized or not. I give what I can, sometimes funds, sometimes help, mostly a mix if I believe in the cause. But I’m also trying to build something. Not to get accolades, just to get the word out so Charitable Words can do more with more partners for more people. But the failure of some organizations to not follow up on a promise to recognize partnerships and contributions is perplexing. Those who take the time, and fulfill promises and more, will get me back as a loyal supporter. With gusto, and many thanks back. That’s not just me. I hear that a lot from others in the sector. Giving thanks matters.
Best practice: Kathy Ciarla and her team at The Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati. Charitable Words is doing some work with her on the upcoming Handbags for Hope event January 31. And she is thanking us already, with social media shout outs, a personal note, in meetings for coffee. Your welcome, Kathy. And thanks!
When I starting researching the “thanks” issue, it was no surprise that I found sage guidance from one of the best nonprofit bloggers I have come across – Katya Andresen, who writes Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog.
Here’s what she has to say, in the form of a simple template. I really like second and fourth points:
Dear _________________ (use donor’s name, spelled correctly)
- First: Don’t start with the typical “thank you for your donation!” Start with a vivid image or mini story of what the donor made possible, like the example in this post!
- Second: Say thank you and give the donor credit for the impact of the donation and/or the specific program(s) supported.
- Third: Express gratitude for the specific gift amount, noting the date and including any language on tax deductibility.
- Fourth: Tell the donor when and how you’ll be in touch to let them know more about what their gift is accomplishing. Include contact information – your email, phone and website – so they can stay in touch or reach out if they wish.
- Closing: Thank them again and sign a real person’s name. If this is a mailed letter, include a PS with a nice added detail about a resource where they can find out more about the difference you are making because of their gift.
That’s great advice. Thanks, Katya.
Many thanks, from Charitable Words and friends who may benefit from your wisdom.