Mistakes that can make your donor thanking worse than useless

How well do you thank your donors?

It might be the most important thing you do. And for many organizations, it’s one of the least thought-through activities.

Here’s some help from the Guidestar Blog: Nine Mistakes Nonprofits Make Thanking Donors. These errors are common and do all kinds of long-term damage to donor relationships:

  1. Delaying (Thank them immediately!)
  2. Misspelling (Getting the name wrong could be the worst error of all!)
  3. Failing to Personalize the Salutation
  4. Yawn-Inducing Content (Make your thanking just as exciting and emotional as your asking.)
  5. Neglecting to Mention Something a Donor Asked You to Do (Did they ask to be anonymous, or to make the gift in honor of someone else?)
  6. Forgetting to Tell the Specific Impact the Gift Will Have
  7. Overlooking the Opportunity to Provide Something of Value (Think about what they want out of the gift. It’s probably not just the tax deduction!)
  8. Not Including the Name of a Contact Person
  9. Sounding like you’re asking for more

I have a theory: If we knew how to quantify how donors experience our thank-yous … we’d spend more time and energy getting that right than we do getting our asking right!


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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.