Mar 162012
 

Nothing says "Thank You" quite like pie. Acknowledgement letters are nice, too.

Everybody talks about how important acknowledgements are. It seems to be generally understood that if someone is generous enough to give you a donation, the least you can do is thank them.

So why are so many organizations so bad at it?

 

I can’t tell you how many times a client has said to me, “But it’s so expensive to send a thank you letter for every gift!” Or even better, “But it’s so much work!”

 

I’m sorry, but I don’t accept that excuse from my 7-year-old, so I’m certainly not going to accept it from an organization I give money to.

 

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you can’t afford NOT to send acknowledgements.

 

An old boss of mine used to preach to all of her clients about the importance of including a reply envelope in acknowledgements, saying, “There’s no better time to get another gift from a donor than when they’re in the ‘rosy glow’ of having just given.”

 

But even if they don’t give again right away, your thank you letter is a critical tool for future giving.

 

Done correctly, an acknowledgement does three things:
  1. It thanks a donor for their support.
  2. It tells the donor what that support has accomplished so far.
  3. It tells the donor what their continued support can accomplish in the future.

 

Many of my current clients also put information about planned giving and sustainer programs into their acknowledgement packages, too. They’re great vehicles for getting the word out about other ways to give to the organization. (Remember the ‘rosy glow’!)

 

But however you thank them, make sure you do thank your donors. As Mal Warwick says, “If you run a responsive donor-acknowledgement program, you’ll gain a competitive advantage that will pay off in higher renewal rates and greater loyalty.”

 

And who doesn’t want higher renewal rates and greater loyalty?