Your fall, holiday, and end-of-year campaigns are underway. You’ve carefully integrated your direct mail with email, telemarketing, your website, social media, press releases, and possibly mobile.

That’s good.

What happens when your prospects, donors and members respond? What’s your integrated plan for acknowledging their generosity?

How will you express your gratitude and exceed their expectations with your expressions of gratitude?

Here are my thoughts for a basic acknowledgment system:

Online donors (house file)

  • Donors immediately see an acknowledgment page on the website after making the donation.
  • Link(s) on the page take them further into the topic they just supported with their gift.
  • Immediately sent a personalize email saying thank you.
  • Within a week they also receive a personalized direct mail thank you letter (NOT a form letter).
  • Depending on the size of the gift, a thank you phone call would be a smart idea. Just DON’T ask for another donation.
  • Email down the road that gives them an update on the program they just supported.

Online donors (prospects)

  • Donors immediately see an acknowledgment page on the website after making the donation.
  • Link(s) on the page take them further into the topic they just supported with their gift.
  • Immediately sent a personalize email saying thank you and welcome to your organization. Now they receive your “welcome series” of emails and are suppressed from the rest of your email mailings until the series is complete.
  • Within a week they also receive a personalized direct mail thank you letter (NOT a form letter) and your welcome package.
  • Depending on the size of the gift, a thank you phone call would be a smart idea. Just DON’T ask for another donation.
  • Email down the road that gives them an update on the program they just supported.

Direct mail donors (house file)

  • Within a week they receive a personalized direct mail thank you letter (NOT a form letter).
  • Depending on the size of the gift, a thank you phone call would be a smart idea. Just DON’T ask for another donation.
  • Send an update down the road on the program they just supported.

Direct mail donors (prospects)

  • Within a week they receive a personalized direct mail thank you letter (NOT a form letter) and your welcome package.
  • Depending on the size of the gift, a thank you phone call would be a smart idea. Just DON’T ask for another donation.
  • Send an update down the road on the program they just supported.

Don’t treat everyone the same

Some donors – based on the size of their gift – warrant high touch. For example: A genuine one-on-one letter from the top leader of your organization. I mean, with each letter you start with a blank sheet of paper and write it for that ONE donor.

For others a warm phone call is a nice touch. I recommend you also have differences in your welcome package for the mid-level and high-end gifts.

I’ve been touting for several months that in today’s market … in today’s economy … with today’s savvy donors and consumers you MUST GIVE THEM AN EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE.

Make resources available and create an exceptional experience for your supporters.

Cut corners with your expressions of gratitude and you’ll pay dearly: Fewer repeat gifts. Retention drops. Average gift size declines. Acquisition declines (ask me how that happens if you’re skeptical).

You raise far less revenue with a casual, perfunctory acknowledgment system.

What business decision will you make?

Related posts and resources:

Need help with your thank you letter?

Create a Nonprofit Loyalty Program

Are you Nickel-and-Diming Your Donors?