A Great Way to REALLY Thank Your Donors

6 Comments

I want to show you one of the best examples of donor care that I’ve ever seen.

I got it more than 10 years ago, from the Children’s Cancer Institute in Australia. To read the whole thing, click here.

We typically think of a donor newsletter as the best kind of donor care. This letter shows a different — and very effective — way to show donors they matter.

In a personalised, four-page letter, here’s what it does:

  • Specifically thanks the donor for his giving. 
  • Reminds the donor about Anna, a cancer survivor whose story was told in a letter previously sent to the donor.
  • Shares an inspiring quote from a fellow donor.
  • Reminds the donor how important the work he supports is.
  • Describes some interesting recent research projects and thanks the donor for making them possible.
  • Talks about some recent appeals that the donor gave to and thanks him for it, and updates the stories that were in the appeals.
  • Tells the donor about an upcoming change in leadership.

This same content could have been expressed in a very good donor newsletter. It would be a strong newsletter indeed. But there are some advantages to putting all that good material into a letter.

  • It’s much easier and less expensive to produce than a typical newsletter. If you have limited resources (who doesn’t?), this might be a much more realistic project!
  • It’s more flexible than a newsletter. It can be longer or shorter as needed.
  • In a way, it feels more personal than a newsletter. After all, a newsletter is a “publication.” A donor reading it is aware that many others also got the same thing. But a letter is for one person — even if the same number of people get it!
  • When a letter like this is tested against a more traditional newsletter, it performs just as well, and sometimes better.

Telling donors you appreciate them and showing them that their giving matters is a key to successful fundraising. Try this way of doing that!

To find out more about how to form a meaningful connection with your donors and transform your fundraising check out our masterclass, Irresistible Communications for Great Nonprofits. You can access it when you join The Fundraisingology Lab.

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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Sophie Penney
    January 24, 2019 4:03 am

    This is what in a former world in which I worked we called a leaders’ letter. At my suggestion of my clients sends such a letter to long-time loyal donors and major and planned giving donors The letter goes four times per year and touches in greater depth on a topic, and tells a story, that people would otherwise not hear. One letter resulted in a $1,000 gift to support a service that few even realized was provided by the nonprofit.

    One final note, I highly recommend that the ED write a brief personal note at the bottom of letters. While it takes time I can guarantee that donors take notice. A dean with whom I worked did this. When I traveled to see people who received the letters one of the first things they said was please thank the dean for taking the time to write that note.

    Reply
  • I used to do this at an organization where I worked. I’d ghostwrite something for the ED and then have him sign and personalize the bottom of each.

    Do you include any kind of remit with this? I never did, but am curious about others.

    Reply
  • The use of red ink and all the dates just confused me. My head hurts now. 🙁

    Reply
  • Thanks for this example of a great thank you letter! It arrived just in time to help me write a letter (from the ED) to include with the mail out of our 2018 charitable tax receipts.

    Reply
  • Who would you recommend sending this to? Would it work for RGs who aren’t necessarily giving to a specific appeal?

    Reply

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