In this season of giving and giving thanks, it’s appropriate to consider the requisite response: how to say “thank you” for a gift.
These thank yous needn’t be extravagant or expensive, says Lorri Greif. She offers these suggestions:
- An invitation to a board member’s home or office for light holiday refreshments
- Photos showing your program’s progress
- Note of thanks from your executive director or board chair
- A warm, personal phone call
- An exceptional–but inexpensive–token handmade by program service recipients
- A certificate of special appreciation
- An e-mail including a personalized video message with holiday best wishes. Watch a good example of this technique by clicking here.
- Be different. No stock, canned messages
- Make the donor the hero, not the organization
- Come from the heart. They’re not from a list of check-off boxes
Jules goes on to give examples of letters that either violate some of the principles or satisfy them squarely.
Karen Zapp suggests different steps for online and direct mail donors.
- Immediately after their gift see an acknowledgement on the website
- See links on the web page providing more information on the program they just supported
- See a personalized e-mail thank them for their gifts
- Receive a personalized direct mail thank you within a week
- Might receive a personal phone call with thanks, depending on the size of the gift
- Receive down the road an e-mail with program update
Direct mail donors:
- Receive a personalized direct mail thank-you letter within a week
- Might receive a personal phone call, depending on the size of the gift
- Receive an update message a few weeks later
A cookie-cutter approach won’t work for donors, Karen adds. “Make resources available and create an exceptional experience for your supporters.”