“Dear Sir or Madam”…

The most annoying few words on the planet. It couldn’t be more impersonal if it tried.

This greeting is generics perhaps in its most overt form. We are often sneakier than this, attempting to make our lack of connection to the person receiving our gratitude less detectable.

“Good afternoon, all” or “Greetings” or “Thank you for your generous donation” are just a few examples. They sound polite, and a little less spammy than “Sir or Madam”, but they still lack the most basic component of respect: a name.

I want you to want me.

Nonprofits survive and thrive for the long haul through the relational, not the transactional.

The 2015 Abila Donor Loyalty Study concluded that 71 percent of donors feel more engaged with a nonprofit when they receive personalized content.

The study went on to say that one of the top three reasons people donate to charity is the belief that the organization depends on them and their money for survival. Your supporters want to know that you are not just generally grateful, but grateful to them. They need to feel needed if they are going to consistently give.

The nonprofit has the power to frame that narrative. So, how do we do that?

Let’s get personal.

  • Learn the name, or make it up.

If you have the time and resources to create an individual thank you message for each donor, that is excellent. But this isn’t always realistic. You can still find creative ways to be personal to a group. For example, create subsets of donors and thank them by title – such as “Most Loyal Donors” or “Top 10”. This way, your supporters feel unique and indispensable. You are thanking them in a different way than you are thanking others. It may cost you a little more time and energy on the front end to be this personal, but retaining donors is almost always more cost-effective than constantly searching for new ones.

  • Be specific.

Personalization is in the details. If a donor has referenced something specific about how they want their gift used or what part of your work they are most passionate about, mention that in your thank you to them. This shows you were paying attention. Even if they haven’t referenced something in particular, it’s always good to be specific about your impact. Again, donors need to feel needed. Give examples of people that wouldn’t be fed, animals that wouldn’t be adopted, houses that wouldn’t be built, etc. without your donor.

  • Act quickly.

Author Penelope Burk argues in her book Donor-Centered Fundraising that recency is one of the most important predictors of a donor’s likelihood to repeat a gift. When someone gives to your nonprofit, jump on that opportunity to connect with them. Prompt thankfulness is not only polite, but it also increases your chances to form a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.

Say Thank You with Shoutout.

Here at Click & Pledge, we are always looking for ways to help you connect personally, quickly, and safely with donors.

That’s why we launched Shoutout.

Shoutout is a new feature that allows you to search your donor list by recency of gift or amount of gift. You can then send a video or audio message straight to your donor through text or email.

It’s a personal, rapid response that’s perfect for a time of social distancing when face-to-face thank you’s just might not be possible.

See them, learn about them, thank them. Happy connecting!

Let’s do some good.


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