What’s in my Mailbox | Are you following your online gifts with a snail mail thank you?

April 6, 2016


Ah, the lowly thank you letter. It’s often an afterthought or never even sent out at all, especially following a smaller and/or online donation. Or it reads as a perfunctory obligation, bereft of any emotion or authenticity. The recipient knows it’s not genuine. Quite frankly, whenever I encounter these, I usually think I’d have preferred to receive nothing at all.

But the thank you that follows the first gift – what I’ve fondly come to call “the first date” – sets the stage for what will follow. I’ve received some that are not so stellar, but alternately, I’ve received some great ones that are worth mentioning. Case in point: I made a small ($25) gift to Free Speech For People when their Development Director, Brenna Kupferman, won a drawing in one of our Basics & More™ courses. I immediately received a terrific email thank you in response to my donation. But is that enough?

As Lisa Sargent notes, in the Donor Love Toolkit: to “increase notoriously low retention rates among online givers, you need to retain them via traditional channels (i.e. direct mail).”

I was immediately drawn to the first line of this letter. Three simple words, yet they generate so much impact: You are amazing!

Take a look at the first full paragraph. The vocabulary and language used results in my feeling like an important key player in FSP’s quest for positive change and democracy — not some little fish in a big pond.

The second paragraph deepens the relationship between us by asking me to be on the lookout for further communications, encouraging me to share my feedback with their development director, and telling me that they hope I’ll stay in touch.

Can you see why this is the perfect stage-setter, why I’m happy I gave, and while I’ll definitely be giving again? If your stewardship systems could use an overhaul, look for Power of Thank You | Basics & More™ to open for enrollment on April 18.


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