THE DONOR THANK YOU. 5 TIPS TO CONNECT AND INSPIRE.
When the time comes to acknowledge your generous donors, it’s important that you strike the right note. As with any outreach, the donor thank you is an opportunity to present your brand in the best possible light and enhance your organization’s donor stewardship efforts.
Get creative. It doesn’t have to be a standard letter, but if it’s not, be sure you’re conscious of the perceived cost of production and how that will be received by your donor.
Below you’ll see a recent example of a ‘thank you’ mailer we created for the Daily Bread Food Bank. It follows these five tips that you can implement in your donor thank you letters too.
5 tips to consider when thanking donors:
Saying thank you should be exactly that, a heartfelt expression of your gratitude. It’s not the time to ask for more. Don’t say you still need help, even though in all likelihood you still do. Don’t ask for their time or volunteerism either. Stick to the purpose of your outreach. If it can be customized and you can reference the amount of their donation, consider mentioning it. Any customization helps contribute to the overall feeling of sincerity. Making it hand signed, for example, is a good way to add a personal touch. Work within the limitations you have and look for ways to enhance the feeling of goodwill. With all of this in mind…
Donors appreciate the acknowledgment, but you don’t want to leave them with the impression that you have spent a large portion of the budget (to which they have contributed) on elaborate and expensive communication packages. This doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. While a standard letter may be sufficient, if your brand has innovation as part of its DNA, then every single touch point should reflect that, including the thank you “letter”. Which leads me to…
Let’s say it takes the form of a mailer. If it never gets opened, it never gets read. You want to give your thank you note the best chance for success, so look for ways beyond simply a standard envelope with your logo on it to increase your likelihood of success. And while you’re working on that…
MAKE IT SUCCINCT
Get to the point. Make sure that once they open it, they understand the purpose of the communication. Your goal is to make them feel appreciated which, hopefully, will compel them to continue support of your organization. To help with that goal…
SHOW THE IMPACT
Include big and small success stories as part of the message. Definitely state that because of their generosity you have been able to help X-number of people. But don’t stop there. Focus on individual stories as well. This is where a human face and compelling story can really make your donor feel like they are making a difference.
Here is a recent example of a donor thank you piece we created for The Daily Bread Food Bank.
We sent a simple thank you card. At least that’s what it looked like at first glance.
Because we sent it in a plain non-branded envelope we knew the receiver would be curious, and very likely to open it. The message on the front of the card simply said, “thank you.” Inside, the message continued with “you have made a difference in my life”—and there was still no Daily Bread branding evident. Roll the fold down again and the donor is presented with the impact of their donation in the form of high-level statistics, and individual stories of impact from people these donations have helped.
This is when they see it is from Daily Bread, and by this point they are invested in reading on.
As you can see, donor thank you’s don’t have to be garden-variety standard format letters. Keep these 5 tips in mind and you’ll be sure to leave your donors feeling appreciated.
Check out our portfolio for more examples of how our strategic approach to marketing in the social profit sector is making a difference for charities, causes, and corporations who embrace CSR initiatives.