Do strangers receive more courtesy than your donors?

in Cultivation & Stewardship,Thank You messages (Acknowledgement)

When someone opens the door for you … do you say thank you?

When someone offers to let you go ahead of them in the check-out line … do you say thank you?

When someone picks up a glove, set of keys, or a pen that you accidentally dropped on the ground … do you say thank you?

And in all these examples, do you say thank you at the moment the courtesy happened?  Or do you ask for their card so you can send a thank you note 4 – 8 weeks later?

Quickly send personalized thank you letters to donors (© Copyright 2011 - PK Scribe, LLC)

Why treat donors worse than a stranger?

Assuming you answered “YES” to my first 3 questions and you do say “thank you;” and assuming you thank the stranger for their kindness the moment it happens … why would you treat a donor worse than you do a stranger?

That’s exactly what you’re doing if you fail to acknowledge a donation with a thank you letter.  And if it takes you 2, 3, 4 or more weeks to say thank you then that’s also a poor way to treat donors.  

Donors are the people responsible for the research you do … the lives you save in your hospital … the homes you build for the poor and homeless … the children you feed in your soup kitchen … the adults you teach to read so their self esteem sky rockets and they can get a much better job … the wounded veterans you counsel … these donors are the reason your nonprofit can keep its doors open.

And yet donors receive less courtesy than a stranger who let you go ahead of them in a check-out line.   That’s not right.

Send thank you letters and figure out how to send them within a few days of receiving a donation. Many a small charity has figured out how to do this.  So can you ― regardless of the size of your nonprofit.

And for those online gifts and mobile donations add a print thank you letter to your digital note of thanks.  That really packs an impressive punch.  Give donors the courtesy they deserve.  Treat them better than strangers.

Find more help for writing nonprofit thank you letters here.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Timing is Everything! Thank you letters included. — Karen Zapp - Nonprofit Copywriter
October 3, 2012 at 11:53 am
Lapsed Donors versus Retention — Karen Zapp - Nonprofit Copywriter
June 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chapin July 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

I couldn’t agree more!! Even if you have a development staff of one, it’s possible to thank donors within three days of receiving the gift. There’s no excuse for one week, let alone 4-6 weeks!! Great point.

Karen Zapp, copywriter July 20, 2011 at 9:39 am

Thanks for weighing in, Chapin. Making timely gratitude a priority reaps great rewards (e.g., more funds raised, higher retention) for charities.

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