I’ve written articles on my website, blog posts, created a guide on the subject, and written about it several times in my newsletter.  What is this hot subject?

Saying “thank you” after receiving a donation

And today in her blog – Kivi’s Nonprofit Communication Blog – Kivi Leroux Miller shared results of her annual experiment on charities and their expressions of gratitude for gifts received.

“The point of this experiment is to see what kind of communications response I get in return for unsolicited donations to national charities. This does not include the automated email receipt that I get from the payment processor; I’m looking for communication from the charity directly.

It’s been a month, and I’ve heard from only three of the 10 organizations. This is the same result as last year, when I got four thank-yous in response to 12 gifts. It was a pitiful response then, and a pitiful response today.”

Cheers for the three that acknowledged her gift:

National Parks Conservation Association
Girls Incorporated

The seven who thus far have ignored Kivi’s generosity are:

American Red Cross (listed as American National Red Cross) [Update below.]
Defenders of Wildlife
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Oceana, Inc.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Remote Area Medical Foundation
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

And if you read through the comments on Kivi’s post you’ll find more sad tales of neglect.

To the hard-working ladies and gentlemen at the nonprofits of the world, expressing gratitude must be a priority within your daily operations.  To ignore it or only give it a “When I have time” attitude is costing you a great deal of money.

You anger donors who then spread negative messages about your organization.  This in turn negatively impacts donor acqusition.   And the donors who weren’t thanked often stop giving so your life-time donor value plummets and so does retention.

This is a very important topic in the minds of donors.  Here are links to other articles I’ve written on this subject along with guidelines on how to write a thank you letter:

Thank You Letters – A Fundraising Courtesy Fundamental

Why You MUST Send Thank-You Letters – The Missing Link in Fundraising Appeals

The ZAPP Guide to Fundraising Letters

Feb 23 update: I applaud Wendy Harmon of the American Red Cross for acknowledging the faux pas.  She posted comments on Kivi’s blog (Feb 20 and 21).  In Harmon’s words, “You got us on this aspect of donor stewardship. What will follow are excuses. A little more than a year ago we experienced a significant reduction in force….”  She went on to say, “…We’ve been aware that this is a hole we need to fill and will most likely put resources towards Network for Good donors as a result of this post.”

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Timing is Everything! Thank you letters included. — Karen Zapp - Nonprofit Copywriter
October 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

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