Is it Time For an Extreme Thank You Makeover?

Summer is here! Yea, finally.  This may be a slower time for you, and over the summer, I’m going to give you some suggestions on how to improve your fundraising and communications to help you get ready for a busy fall.

One area where most nonprofits can do better is thanking their donors, something that often seems like an afterthought. 

A landing page is more than a receipt

Many people donate online now, and your landing page is your first chance to say thank you.  Make it personal and not transactional. 

Open with Thank you, Susan!or You’re amazing!  Include an engaging photo and a short, easy to understand description of how the donation will help the people you serve.  Put all the tax deductable information after your message or in the automatically generated thank you email.

If you use third party giving sites, such as PayPal or Network for Good, this is what your donors will see, and it’s not pretty.How to Go Beyond a Receipt Follow up with a personal thank you email message within 48 hours (see below).

Your thank you email should sound like it’s coming from a human

Set up an automatic email to go out after someone donates online. This will let your donor know that you received her donation and it didn’t get lost in cyberspace.

Again, make it warm and personal.  Just because it’s generated by a computer, doesn’t mean it needs to sound like a computer.

You’re not done yet

I’m a firm believer that even if someone donates online he should receive thank you card, letter, or phone call within 48 hours.

Make your donor’s day with a handwritten note

You can make a good impression by sending a handwritten thank you note.  Personal mail is so rare these days, and your card will stand out.

Now is a good time to create some thank you cards.  One idea is to use a picture of a client or group of clients holding a thank you sign.  If cost is an issue, you could get the cards donated.

Writing cards will take more time, so you’ll need to plan ahead. Craft a sample note; recruit staff, board members, volunteers, and clients to help write cards; and hold thank you writing parties right after you send out an appeal.

Phone calls make a difference, too

You can do the same thing for thank you phone calls.  Create a sample script, recruit people to make calls, and hold thankathons after your appeal. 

Create an awesome letter

If it’s impossible to write cards or make phone calls, then send out an awesome letter. 

This means something personal and conversational without any vague jargon.  Give a specific example of how the donation will make a difference. Something like this.

Dear Matt,

You’re incredible!   Your $50 donation will give a family two bags of groceries.  Thank you so much!

Here are some more examples.

Thank You Letters Donors Will Love 

Thank You Letters – Resources for You

Make new donors feel welcome

Approximately 70% of first time donors don’t give a second gift. Yikes! Don’t let that happen. 

Start thinking about creating a welcome package now.  A week or so after you send a thank you note, send something in the mail or by email, if money is tight.

 Make Your New Donors Feel Welcome

 How to Personalize and Automate the Welcome Series for Your New Supporters

It’s all about relationships

Keep in touch now and throughout the fall, so you stay on your donors’ radar. Thanking donors is not a one-time thing. 

Create a Thank You Plan

Image by Woodley Wonderworks


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s