Thank, thank and thank again. A simple mantra to live and breathe.
Read a good post about thanking here where a fellow mystery shopper has gone searching for examples of great thanking and donor care. Which, as I know, can be hard to come across.
This, and Jeff Brooks' post about getting rid of annual reports and replacing them with gratitude reports prompted me to add a little more about the power of thanking.
So, here are 10 key things to play back to yourself when saying thank you:
1 Actually say the words thank you. "We appreciate your support" is all about you (the organization). "Thank you" is about your wonderful donors.
2 Thank for the actual gift, not the communication. "Thank you for contacting us the other day" is not about the wonderful decision someone made, but "thank you for your generous support" is.
3 Any thanking communication should 'play back' the story associated with the ask. "Your gift really will go towards helping young children like Tommy who I wrote to you about recently".
4 Do it quickly. But do it well. I'd argue the latter is more important, but both are critical. 3-5 business days from receiving a gift, no exceptions.
5 Make the thank you stand out. Don't copy and paste the thank you letter from last year, which has actually been in circulation since 1996. Most thank you's are quite mundane and dull. Ensure it's unique.
6 Be personal. Handwritten notes, postscripts etc rock. Take the time, clients of ours who do this see the long term benefits (through increased retention). It shows you care.
7 Be relevant. Thanking isn't just about responding to a specific gift. It's about frequent and relevant feedback and caring. If you know Mrs Jones likes the work you've doing in Sudan tell her regularly what's happening there in the field and referencing you know this is of interest to her. Most caring of donors is impersonal and not that interesting to supporters. Finding those links means your donors are genuinely engaged.
8 Be specific. What did my $50 help do? Tell me.
9 Don't be hindered by technology and processes. Yes you can spill a thank you letter onto a second page. Don't allow the attaching of the tax receipt to dictate how your thank you letter flows/looks.
10 Call it a thank you letter. Get out of the mindset of calling it a receipt. It's a thank you, that happens to include a receipt, not the other way around.
Thank you for reading this post.