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While You’re Feeling Thankful, Remember Your Donors

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They say one of the keys to a happy, successful life is to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness.

That’s one of the reasons the US holiday of Thanksgiving is so wonderful.

Being thankful is good for your personal life … and it’s very good for your fundraising!

One of the best ways to thank your donors is a well-built thank you letter. Here are some of the hallmarks of a great donor thank you letter:

  • Well written. Put some real thought into your thanks. Use all the skill and creativity you used to ask in the first place.
  • Emotional. Don’t just recite the facts. Tell an emotional story about the difference her giving has made.
  • On the same topic as what they gave to. If you asked the donor to give to feed hungry children, thank her for feeding hungry children! Don’t change the subject or talk about “supporting us.” You spent considerable energy motivating the donor to do something specific and wonderful. She needs to know that what she did specifically and wonderfully mattered!
  • Correct. Go to great lengths to make sure you thank her for the correct gift amount.  And that you have her name and address completely right.
  • Prompt. If weeks pass between the gift and the thank you, it’s quite likely the donor will barely remember giving. What a lost opportunity to connect while she’s still feeling the warm glow of giving. If it takes more than 24 hours for you to get a thank you in the mail, there’s room for improvement.

Thank you letters that do those things help make donors happy they gave to you.

Donating is an act of trust, connection, and compassion. It’s important to recognize that every donor has taken some small risk in making that gift, and they need to be reassured that it was a good decision.

You put a lot of thought and effort into asking for the gift. You should put at least some into thanking for the gift. Good thanking is part of a good relationship. Your donors are worth it.

Discover more of the ins and outs of thanking donors and building a long-term relationship by joining The Fundraisingology Lab. Check it out.

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  • Jeff Brooks

    Jeff Brooks is a Fundraisingologist at Moceanic. He has more than 30 years of experience in fundraising, and has worked as a writer and creative director on behalf of top nonprofits around the world, including CARE, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Feeding America, and many others.

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