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  • Otto Reinisch

5 Best Practices for Saying "Thank You" After Giving Tuesday

Updated: May 12, 2020

I hope your organization received its share of gifts made on Giving Tuesday (or, other online special giving day last week). If so, here are 5 Best Practices for saying thank you to set your organization apart and win new friends over as regular donors.

1. Make It Personal

Do you really want to stand out? If you have a physical mailing address, send a letter on your stationery. Personalize it with a live stamp, the donor’s name/address/salutation, the gift amount, a live signature, and handwritten comment (a simple handwritten “Thank you!” will do).

In the midst of social distancing and shelter-in-place, people crave authentic human connection. And, with donors making online gifts this week to many organizations, your personal letter will stand out when it arrives in their mailbox.

If you generate an email gift acknowledgement, follow up with a thank you note. Even a pre-printed card with a hand-addressed envelope, live signature, and handwritten comment works! If you don’t have staff available, this is a meaningful opportunity for volunteers (being careful to protect confidential donor information).

2. Say Thank You Right Away

Have you received a thank you note from a newlywed couple…nine months after the wedding? That same feeling is how donors feel when you take too long to thank them after receiving their gift. I’ve always used 48 hours as the rule for issuing a personalized thank you, regardless of amount. Every gift, every donor is important! If you haven't already said 'thank you' for last week's gifts...do it today!

3. Make It About the Donor

In your 'thank you', keep the attention on the donor and their gift rather than your organization. Donors want to feel they're part of your team, not just a source of money. Use “you” and “your” frequently and make sure you always include the donor in “we” statements. Also, acknowledge any past gifts and especially if this is a first-time gift.

4. Share the Impact of the Gift

Inspire donors by letting them know they made a difference. Be specific. And, as always, make the donor the hero…tell a short impact story or include a testimonial about the work THEY make possible. Generally, I don't include photos; too often they can limit the donor's imagination.

5. KEY POINT: Encourage Their Next Gift

The most important gift in fundraising is not a donor's first one, it’s their second. Let donors know your work isn’t done. You’ve thanked them for making a difference (Item 4 above), now gently let them know "the continuing partnership of friends, like you" will give your team confidence "as, together, we face new challenges, serve more people, and carry out our mission in new ways at a time when it's needed most."

The essence of your gift acknowledgements - as with every donor communication - should reinforce the key message we've heard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic...

"We're in this together".

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ― Marcel Proust

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