Miss Manners would say:
- Always address your friend by their given name. A thank you is not a form letter.
- Include a specific description of the gift your friend gave you. A thank you should be personal, and show the giver that you know them.
- Describe how you’ll use the gift; let the giver know why you loved the gift so much,
- Use “I”. The letter is coming from you; not from “we”.
- Do not be rude and describe how you could’ve used more. This is not the time or place to talk about your needs. It’s especially not the time to talk about your financial situation!
- Do not solicit your next gift. The thank you should be pure – especially if this is the first gift you’ve ever received from this individual (which appears true, based on the “Welcome!” in the first paragraph).
Sometimes when Grandma gave us a birthday gift she was testing us. How much gratitude would we show? If we didn’t show enough, we might not get as good a gift next year. Donors can be just like grandma. The first gift is a test. It is a symbol of how the donor feels about us, or how the donor might feel about us some day if properly stewarded. It is an opening. It is up to us to close… and close… and close. The relationship building process continues forever, and that’s the real work of fundraising. Otherwise, the gifts stop coming.
If you’re serious about donor retention you may want to get my new Special Guide: How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude — Everything You Need to Know About Donor Retention. It’s a handy no-nonsense guide on how to put gratitude into practice on a daily basis. Templates, checklists, samples, creative ideas, links to tools and resources – it’s all there. For what you get, I think you’ll find it to be a bargain. And if it’s not, you can always tell me. I’m pretty nice about these things. To your success!
That soliciting the next gift thing is enough to make me put them on the "bad charities" list. Yes, I have one. 🙂
Magpie: I'm curious if they'd make your list of "bad charities" if they simply included a remit envelope? This is a discussion I've had numerous times with different charities. WHile most of us are clear that an immediate second ask combined with the thank you borders on rude, some believe enclosing an envelope is akin to an 'ask', while others believe it's simply a convenience for the donor should s/he be moved to contribute at some future point. Thoughts?
How do you compare creating a "family" feeling and using the pronoun "we" to having it come from a single person? That is interesting – we are using the family approach, but coming from a single person does show ownership in the relationship.
I always prefer a thank you that comes from an individual. That's generally how we do it in 'real life.' If it must come from two or more people, they should be representing themselves and not the organization. When an organization does the thanking, it just isn't personal. People give to people; not institutions. Thanks for the great question!
Future Fundraising Now posted a great piece on this subject February 13th. Check it out. http://www.futurefundraisingnow.com/future-fundraising/2012/02/why-send-donor-receipts-right-away-whats-the-rush.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm;_medium=email&utm;_campaign=Feed%3A+FutureFundraisingNow+%28Future+Fundraising+Now%29