Many people donate online now. There’s a good reason for this. It’s usually fast and easy, or at least it should be.
One problem with online donations is the poor thank yous that come after your donor has given you a gift. Even though your thank you landing page and thank you email are automatically generated, it doesn’t mean they need to sound like they were written by a robot.
There’s a human being on the other end and they just did something nice by donating to your organization. Don’t they deserve to be lavished with gratitude?
It’s not hard to make your online thank yous more personal. Here’s what you need to do.
Use words that convey gratitude
First, make a list of words you associate with gratitude. Did you come up with words such as transaction and processed? Because those are words I often see after I make an online gift. I want to tear my hair out every time I see transaction complete or your gift was successfully processed.
Words matter and some words of gratitude include appreciate, grateful, and of course, thank you.
Think of the donations you receive as the start or continuation of a relationship and not a transaction.
Make a good first impression with your thank you landing page
Your landing page is your first chance to say thank you and it’s usually about as engaging as an Amazon receipt. In fact, I’ve received online shopping receipts that are more personal than some nonprofit “thank you” landing pages.
Remember to use words that convey gratitude. You could open with Thank you, David! or You’re amazing! Include an engaging photo or video and a short, easy to understand description of how the donation will help the people you serve.
Invite donors to connect with you in other ways such as signing up to receive your newsletter, following you on social media, and volunteering.
If you use a third-party giving site, you might be able to customize the landing page. If you can’t, follow up with a personal thank you email message within 48 hours.
Don’t let your donors think they only made a transaction.
Write a thank you email that will impress your donors
Start off by thinking of a good subject line. At the very least say Thank You! and not Donation Received. Stay away from the dreaded words processed and transaction. You want your thank you email to stand out in your donor’s overflowing inbox.
Open your message with Thank You or You just did something incredible, and not the usual On Behalf of X organization. Then let your donors know how they’re helping you make a difference for the people/community you serve.
Basically, you want to follow the rules of writing a good thank you letter, the key word here being good. I covered this in my last post The Purpose of a Thank You Letter is to Thank Your Donors. It amazes me how many thank you letters/emails don’t do a good job of saying thank you.
You won’t be able to segment much, but you should be able to distinguish between single gifts and monthly donations.
Speaking of monthly donations, many organizations send their monthly donors an email acknowledgment each month. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what’s wrong is many of these are dreadfully boring and usually include the same message each month.
Your monthly donors have made a long-term commitment to you, you can show the same commitment to them by writing a better thank you email and mixing up the content by sharing updates.
You can include a donation summary or receipt with your thank you email, but that should be at the end – AFTER – you pour on the gratitude. I prefer the term donation summary because it doesn’t sound as transactional.
Again, don’t make your message sound like it was written by a robot. Write something warm and personal.
Give your donors a good thank you experience
Since your thank you landing page and email are automatically generated, you can’t make them as personal as a handwritten note, phone call, or letter. That’s why you need to do at least one of those for your online donors. An online thank you is not enough.
You want to give your donors a thank you experience. Your thank you landing page and email acknowledgment are just the beginning. Make them engaging and personal and keep up that theme as you continue to show gratitude to your donors throughout the year.