This Month — A Brandraising Twofer
The thank-you note is the first chance your organization gets to steward a new donor relationship. It implicitly acknowledges that the donor had a choice to give or not to give, and continues to have that choice in the future. It also tells her how much of her gift is tax-deductible by law.
Thank-you notes don't have to be dull, stodgy or stale. I'm a fan of fresh approaches to anything you send to donors — as long as they're appropriate for the audience. New tools like Paperless Post let you send thank-yous that look like fancy stationery via e-mail, for instance. Artwork created by people in your direct-service programs can make for great thank-you cards, too. In fact, a thank-you note can be a great place to get inspired, express your organization's personality and reinforce the big idea you want people to think of when they think of you (a marketing concept called "positioning"). Here are five ideas that might help ensure your organization's thank-yous don't fall under the bus:
1. Preprint note cards with a basic thank-you message inside, artwork that reflects what your organization does on the cover and matching envelopes.
2. Once a week, personalize note cards or thank-you letters with the recipient's name, gift amount, and a line or two that shows you understand and value her relationship to your organization. Have your executive director sign the cards in a batch just before or after staff meetings. Handwritten notes — or if that's not realistic, signatures — are best.
3. Set up your donor database to send you an e-mail reminder as soon as a new contact is entered. The reminder to send a thank-you note should include the individual's name, address and giving history, and you'll want to get it done within a day or two.