We recommend to all our clients to send a meaningful Thank You to their donors in January.
It should be a non-normal Thank You. It should stand out from the rest of your donor communications.
We believe in this so much we invented “Thankuary” several years ago to help an organization do this. (That organization, by the way, just DOUBLED their year-end fundraising from 2018 to 2019.)
Because here’s the thing:
If you want to have the best chance of keeping your donors,
You have to Thank your donors well
Then later Report back to them on the effects of their gift.
Make It Meaningful
It’s January, which means you just Asked your donors quite a bit at the end of the year. (At least I hope you did). Which means it’s time to Thank your donors.
Here’s what to do:
- Make it stand out in her mailbox. Send it in a larger envelope. Say “thank you” in audaciously large type on the envelope. Use a bold, exciting color.
- Make it emotional. It should read like a personal note of incredible gratitude. Your ED might not like to sound emotional, but emotion is exactly what’s called for.
- Do not initially thank your donor for supporting your organization. Instead, thank her for making a difference for your cause or beneficiaries. Thank her for her generosity. Thank her for her attention. Then, after you’ve done those things, you can thank her for supporting your organization.
- Tell a couple short stories to illustrate donor impact. I’m talking two or three paragraphs each.
- Send it only to donors who gave in the last twelve months.
This mailing doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. You don’t need photos. You don’t need charts, graphs or graphics.
You just need a letter that makes your donor feel thanked, like an important, valued part of your organization.
If you can’t send out a letter, do as much of the above as possible via email. But know that fewer people will read it, and it will feel less meaningful to them.
Ideally, you can do both. And in a best-case scenario: we have clients send an email to their donors to let them know the letter is coming.
Can you imagine a better way – from a donor’s point of view – that you could start the year?
She’ll feel meaningful to your organization. She’ll know she’s appreciated. She’ll know that her gift made a difference.
She’s then more likely to donate when you send your next appeal.
She’s then more likely to donate next year-end.
She’s then more likely to keep you as one of her charities.
Seems like a pretty good return for the investment of time to send this letter, doesn’t it?