Sometimes there’s a gap between receiving money from donors and spending it – the space between, where something that says Thank You should be. I don’t know whether there are any statistics about it, but from conversations with fundraising colleagues and unofficial tests it seems a lot of non-profits – maybe even a majority – miss this critical step.
I suspect that sometimes, staff and volunteers are already so busy delivering services and getting money in the door that they aren’t able to put together any kind of donor recognition.
I also suspect that in some cases, good intentions get stuck behind lack of money and energy; no time to do it well, so it doesn’t get done at all.
I’ve been there; we all want what we do to be of high quality and look professional. But I’m beginning to believe that point of view can be wrong; it misses the point.
Sometimes the unpolished, the unprofessional, isn’t just all you need. It’s already perfect.
Remarkable ways to say Merci
I love getting mail from people and organizations I like. So I was thrilled to get a postcard one day from Small Change Fund – an organization I’ve written about and supported in the past.
I had made a small donation, and received this about the advocacy campaign I’d funded: “You rock and Fisher Bay is now a provincial park!”. Woohoo – I made a difference!
What more does your donor really need to know?
Earlier this week I learned about an organization called Fugees Family, an organization created by one woman who saw a need and decided to do something about it; Luma Mufleh is building a community around kids – refugee children now in the U.S. – who’ve survived war and are rebuilding their lives one step at a time.
Luma’s work has received a fair amount of attention lately; I read about it through blogger Marjorie Clayman (@MargieClayman) who is on a blogging hiatus until she reaches her goal: 400,000 new donors for this organization. I made a small contribution, and today in my email I found this.
It’s not flashy or seamlessly produced, it’s simple and real. It’s very sweet. And it gets the point across: Thank You.
Great post! Saying thank you is so important, so simple, and so often forgotten. We recently wrote a blog post advocating old-fashioned (supposedly) snail-mail thank you cards – http://nymanink.com/blogs/jen/print-powerful – because print makes a statement in the digital age. But if cost is a concern, I’d say it doesn’t matter how you say thank you … just as long as you say it!
I completely agree about snail-mail; it’s become a way to stand out, if you do it right. Thanks so much for your comment!
(p.s. your blog link doesn’t work…)
Thanks – tried to fix it. Hope it’s okay now.
Great post Amy. You are correct – far too many non-profits simply fail to send out thank you letters at all. I’m currently involved in a benchmarking study on how charities in five different countries respond to new donors.
The full results have not been completed yet – but what I’ve see so far shows how bad some of the biggest names are at saying these two all important words.
This gives small non-profits a big advantage. If you’re small, you’re much more likely to have a geographical, cultural, spiritual, or other kind of connection with your donor . . . use this personal link to say thank you in a personable way, and you’ll steal a march on the big guys, whilst making your donor feel loved too!
Thanks so much for your comment, Jules, I’ll be really interested to see the results of the study – do you know when it will be released?
You’re right, being small is a great opportunity to connect more directly and maybe a bit more creatively. I’ve heard of smaller organizations that have done individualized Thank You videos, which I think is pretty fantastic. Imagine how those donors feel!
wonderful post! here’s two I found quickly- enjoy!
have a great weekend
I’m entirely *not* surprised that you could quickly pull these two examples out of your sleeve, Ephraim – they’re both great, but I love the Charity:Water example! It’s fun and obviously personal.
You’re so right! Saying thank you just makes the whole thing that much more personal. I had a great and surprising response after making a small donation to my local library, getting a hand-written card from one of the children in one of the library’s programs telling me how much she appreciates it. What a great idea, to collect the thank you cards from the people who see your donation in action!
I love that, Sue – makes me smile just reading about it! Thank you for sharing the idea.