Remember the childhood pain of being made to write endless thank you notes after every birthday and Christmas? As adults, we know that that wasn’t meant to be a form of torture, even though it felt like it! Instead, it was intended to teach us about manners, being polite and not taking kindness and gifts for granted.

When was the last time someone wrote to you to say thanks? How did it feel? Good, right? That lovely warm feeling you get is what we are talking about here. Thanking donors, whether they are individuals, organisations or trusts is so important – whether the gift is large or small. The simple step of saying thank you is sometimes forgotten amidst all the administration.

For the purposes of this post we are talking to small to medium charities who don’t undertake direct mailing to individuals and who don’t have vast call centres or agencies taking donations on a minute by minute basis – they probably won’t be reading this anyway!

We’re talking to those organisations who perhaps have a regular trust and foundation base and the occasional individual or organisational supporters. These are the organisations who do a million fantastic things day-in day-out, with often limited resource – so it’s no surprise  that thanking donors has fallen off the agenda.

The thanks doesn’t need to be fancy (in fact, it definitely shouldn’t be fancy) but a genuine, heartfelt thank you goes a long way to recognising support. Who knows? It could be the beginning of a long relationship with a donor. Here’s a few tips:

  • It needs to be timely – as a guideline within a week is ideal
  • Personalise it (their name, your name)
  • Keep it short (one page is plenty)
  • Tell them what difference their support makes
  • Share your website details so they can see how they are helping
  • If you will contact them again, tell them so they know what to expect
  • Include a contact number so they can call if they have any questions, add an email address but make sure it’s for an actual person and not just info@….
  • NEVER ask them for more (it sounds silly but you would be surprised!)

Ultimately it’s all about showing them that you don’t take their support for granted and creating a pleasant feeling for those who support you. They might decide to donate again!

If you need any help in establishing a system for thanking or are interesting in having us manage the process for you then get in touch: