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The Nonprofit Blog
Three Thanks Before the Next Ask
Q: How do we retain our donors so that the ever important annual gift is repeated every year?
A: We express to our donors how very much we appreciate their donations. Not once, not twice, but ideally three times before the next ask.
#1 The official typed thank you note signed in ink by the Executive Director. It never hurts for the Executive Director to add a personal note in ink as well. This note should be prompt (within 48 hours of receiving the gift), refer to the impact this gift will have (EVERY gift makes an impact) and should refer to the tax deductibility of the gift if it is $250 or more.
Often asked question: Can this note be sent by email? IF the donor made the gift online (and therefore you know she uses email comfortably and you have her valid email address) it's okay to send this thank you note by email. But figure out a way to make it personal. And -- the IRS would probably be happiest if the letter was in pdf format.
#2 The "other" thank you. Was the gift precipated by a board member referral? If so, be sure that board member writes a personal note, calls the donor or sends an email of thanks. Does the donor volunteer (as well as donate)? If so, the Volunteer Manager whould acknowledge the gift as well. Is it a "first time" donation? Perhaps the donor gets invited to a special welcome event. Etc...
#3 Six months later. Something great has happened at your organization. A new program, the addition of another session to your summer camp, a new specialist is hired, you win an award. Write a letter, send an email, a postcard or a photo to your donors to let them know that your success is a result of their donations.
Make your donors partners and see how many ways you can think of to let them know how much you value their donations. I'd love to hear your ideas.
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