How and why you should speed up your donor acknowledgements

One of the most disappointing areas of nonprofit performance is receipting. Many take weeks, even months, to acknowledge donor gifts. There are even some that never get around to it.

That receipt is the only tangible thing you have for your donors. Delay sending receipts not only signals your lack of thankfulness for the gift, but it misses a key opportunity to remind the donor that her gift matters.

That’s why anyone who’s paying attention will tell you that you need systems that issue receipts quickly.

Clairification puts it at 48 from receipt of gift, and has some advice for how you can get there, at 3 Secrets to Getting Your Donor Thank You Out in 48 Hours:


  1. Get everyone in your organization to buy in to the 48-hour rule.
  2. Begin with the research that shows why quick receipts are an industry best practice.
  3. Develop written Acknowledgment Policies and Procedures

Personally, I’d rather see you set the bar at 24 hours. After all, online retailers can ship many purchases in that time — that’s increasingly the type of speed your donors consider normal — and I know some nonprofits that can do it. But 48-hour receipts would be a meaningful improvement for most fundraisers.

Make this a priority. It can make a big difference in donor retention and your long-term ability to raise funds.


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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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