Acknowledging is not thanking

by guest blogger Andrew Rogers

“Gift acknowledgement” is one of my least-favorite direct marketing terms. Erica Mills over at the Claxon Marketing blog might feel the same way, because she points out the vital truth that there is a big, big difference between an acknowledgement and a thank-you (Bye bye boring thank you letters).

Sure, you have to send an acknowledgement letter to everyone who donates to your organization. But acknowledging is not thanking. An acknowledgement doesn’t make the recipient feel all warm and fuzzy and good about what they’ve done. It makes them remember that soon they’ll have to file taxes. That’s stressful, not joyful.

A thank-you note is a powerful opportunity to strengthen your bond with your donor — to praise her for her generosity and effort, and to tell her what a positive difference she’s making in the world. Why would you pass up a wonderful chance like that in favor of a flat, transactional statement like “We have received your recent donation”?

Apart from laziness, I mean.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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