Why thanking donors can’t be an after-thought

Check out this post at Fundraising Coach: A surprising tweak to increase donor retention.

The surprising tweak is thanking donors quickly. Online, you can do a wonderful thank-you on the page they see immediately after finishing their giving transaction.

But the post also noted some important points about the content of the thank-you message:


  • Use sentence fragments. (I think I’d amend that to “Use colloquial, informal language, including sentence fragments.”)
  • Know your donors’ tone. (Don’t use artificial corporatese, no matter how much your boss thinks it’s the proper way to communicate. It isn’t.)
  • Make impact front and center. (Thanking is about telling donors how important their gift was. Not bragging how effective you are going to be at using it.)

Here’s the thing: We put a lot of effort into asking. We know how to write and what to write about when we’re asking.

Why not be that exacting about how we thank? How we thank and what we thank them for might matter even more than all that technique we put into asking: If you ask well, you get one donation. If you thank well, you may get a lifetime of donations.

If you’re thanking well, the number that should improve is donor retention. The magic number everyone is focused on these days.


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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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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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