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Mind Your Manners

One of the first things we are taught as children when we first learn to speak is to say, ‘ta’.

Saying please and thank you was considered so important by many parents that it is taught before learning to walk, riding a tricycle or going to school. Kids all over are prompted to say it on their birthday when Aunt Francine gives them a card (and no present!), when they would like a drink when at a friend’s house after school or when someone ‘blesses’ them after they have sneezed. So, by the time we reach adulthood those sorts of manners are (hopefully!) ingrained in us.

Yet, in fundraising, when a donor gives us a donation, a contribution from their own pocket to help our cause, we often forget to say thank you.

Thanking our donors for their support should be at the top priority for your organisation and staff that work with donors. Well, in fact, I think ALL staff. Saying thank you is not just about the donation you have just received, but is about building the relationship with that donor for future giving. Donor attrition is one of the most common challenges for organisations and not saying thank you properly is one sure way of making your donors ignore your future asks.

So today, I thought I’d share some key points to remember when saying thank you. (To help you remember these most valuable tips, just remember the acronym T-I-P-S.)

It is important to get your receipts and thank you letters out in a timely fashion. I would suggest within 48 hours of receiving the donation.

It is often nice to use the thank you note to encourage more engagement opportunities. Suggest your donor can give you a call at anytime or invite them somewhere to see your cause in action.

The more personalised you can make your donor’s thank you the more important they will feel. ‘Dear Friend’ is not really the best way to start a letter thanking a supporter for a large donation. Be sure to use their (correct!) name and where possible other information like their donation amount, their history of support or something else you may know about them from previous correspondence.

Always let the donor know how their donation has helped your organisation or the difference it will make to your beneficiaries. Often a project may not be completed at the time of sending the thank you so an update is okay as long as it is specific to the project their donation was intended to be spent on.

So, having read this, do you think your organisation thanks your supporters properly? What tips could you share with others to help them improve? Or have you been on the receiving end as a donor and been thanked really well by someone?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.


3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Unpacking Ungiving « Fish Community Solutions

  2. Pingback: Donors are Dynamite (Part Two) « Fish Community Solutions

  3. Pingback: Make it Personal « Fish Community Solutions

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