Direct marketers know that FREE, FINAL CHANCE, and ACT NOW are some of the most effective words to get someone to respond to your solicitation. Today, I’d like you to consider the power of a simple THANK YOU.
People like to feel appreciated. And when you show your appreciation with a personal note, they feel a closer connection to your business or non-profit organization, which can prompt another purchase or donation.
The above statement is especially true in fundraising. Tests done by a major fundraiser reveal that quality thank-you letters outperform the typical when it comes to rate of renewal and average gift value**. Another fundraiser made almost $450,000 more in gifts with the inclusion of a thank-you note!***
Now, you’re probably thinking, what makes up a quality thank-you? Here are some DO’s and one big DON’T that will make things very clear – and quite possibly improve your donor retention rates.*
1. Send a REAL letter: No preprinted card or boilerplate copy. It must be personal.
2. Get to it right away: That means within days (not weeks or months) of the giving.
3. Use the name of the person who gave the donation. You’re starting a relationship, so no “Dear Donor” or “Dear Friend.”
4.Inform: Thank the donor for the gift and give details on how the funds will be used to make a difference.
5. Deepen the connection: Let the donor know when to expect an update—and keep your promise.
6. Be warm & positive: Invite the donor to contact you directly for more information. Or include the name and phone number of a staff person to contact at any time.
7. Make it short: A one-sided letter that speaks sincerely and succinctly will do the job.
8. Honor your donor: Get someone high in the organization to sign the letter.
Do not sell, do not send a survey, do not ask for another gift. Save that for another time.
So, start writing those great thank-you’s now. And if you’d like to have my team evaluate them, send them to me. We’ll be glad to take a look.
***Tom Ahern article: “No thanks? No, thanks!”; **Tom Belford article: “OK, Thank You!”;
*Penelope Burk article: “Thank You Letters: Powerful and Profitable”.