The absolute all-time favorite post on this blog is called “The Ideal Thank-You Letter Went Out Today.” It’s one of my favorites, too, because it will help your nonprofit get donations this year AND in the future. Here it is–and please read to the bottom for the 2017 updates.
I have seen the ideal appeal letter. I haven’t yet seen the ideal thank-you letter. But it went out today. Did you send it?
If you wrote the ideal thank-you letter, you:
- Called me by name.
- Confirmed how much I gave you.
- Told me how my gift would make a difference.
- Illustrated my impact with a story. (Not the one you told me to persuade me to give. Another story. You have more than one, right?)
- Included a photo or image to make my impact real.
- Told me about how else I can help: by volunteering, or liking you on Facebook, or spreading the word to my friends.
- Signed it by hand, and wrote something just for me.
Most important: it’s the ideal thank-you letter because it went out today.
The sooner you acknowledge my gift, the more likely I am to remember it, and give again. Within 24 hours of your receiving my check is ideal. Within a week is acceptable. But no matter how long it’s been, don’t put it off any longer. Send that letter today.
Thank-You 2017 Updates!
Nothing beats a really good thank-you letter, but you can thank your donors in many other ways, too. Here are the most popular articles from my Thank-You Thursday series.
- 20 Ways to Thank Your Donors Throughout the Year
- TY Thursday: Steal from the Best
- TY Thursday: Your Checklist for the Ideal Thank-You Letter
- Thank-You Thursday: Pick Up the Phone
- TY Thursday: Your Donor Told Me You Should Hear This
One more thing. I really love Ann Green’s idea that you should go beyond thank-you ideas and have a thank-you plan. How are you going to thank your donors in January? In March? In June? How will you put video into the mix? When will you reach out and help the donor who’s going through a rough patch?
That would be a good resolution for 2018: Plan to express your gratitude to the donors with at least as much care as you plan to ask for money. And you can start with the ideal thank-you letter.