What’s in my Inbox | Don’t you forget about me: the thank you email

April 12, 2016


“While you see a chance, take it.”
-Steve Winwood

Your organization’s thank you email immediately following an online gift provides a wonderful opportunity. The opportunity to show that you view your donor as more than an ATM machine. The opportunity to let your donor know that their gift hasn’t fallen into an internet black hole. The opportunity to let your donor know that they’re a hero.

Obviously, timeliness is great, but it’s not the only element of an impactful thank you email. In fact, some of the most immediate messages I’ve received have been painfully lackluster and perfunctory. They’re reflective of duty and obligation but lack genuine gratitude, authenticity, or warmth.

But then there are cases where I’m almost itching to explain, “Look, you’re well on your way. But a few little tweaks would seriously propel this to the next level.”

Case in point: check out this thank you email sent from the organization Free Speech for People, and then read my revision. It’s a solid effort from the beginning, and that’s because the brains behind this email were in the right place.

Says Brenna Kupferman, Free Speech Development Director: “I genuinely want to connect with our donors and make them feel like they are truly a part of a movement larger than themselves. I want them to know that they are doing so much more than just making a donation…I’ve been working with FSFP to improve our donor communications to help our supporters better understand how vital they are to our mission…”

Take note of…

1. The first sentence of the message. “Thank you for your gift” can get kind of old fast. “You’ve just done something remarkable,” on the other hand, is more memorable and more impactful. It makes the donor feel like a hero, and I consistently encourage you to do that whenever you can.

2. The language in the second paragraph has been simplified, shortened, and elevated toward a donor-centric angle. Doing so makes these words more accessible, digestible, and human, especially given the emphasis on “you,” the donor.

3. The closing is a departure from the standard options. “In solidarity” holds a lot more weight than “Sincerely”. Plus, it’s tied to who FSP is, the wonderful work that they do, and their movement of dedicated, world-changing donors.

A thank you email provides a prime opportunity for you to grow and deepen your donor relationships, and it’s one you can’t afford to miss out on. Now, add this knowledge to your arsenal, go forth, and make great thank you emails happen!

Looking to create your organization’s stewardship processes from start to finish? Plan to join us on April 18 when Power of Thank You | Basics & More™, my four-week comprehensive gratitude course launches.


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And, to listen to today’s earworm…

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