Taking your thank you notes from good to great

In case you havent noticed, the end of the year is upon us. How that came up so quickly, Im not really sure, but Im guessing youre scrambling to pull together end-of-year reports and projects like we are. Something thats on my list – and should be on yours too – are thank you notes to supporters.

The key to upping your game is to focus on the giver. By making your notes all about the donors and the differences theyve made, youre reminding them why they chose to open their wallets to you instead of other organizations. Donor-centric tactics will make them feel great about themselves and you, and they might even feel inspired to give one more time.

Heres how you can take your thank you notes to the next level:

Personalize it

Youre busy. I get it, we all are. But it doesnt take long to add a donation amount field to the csv youre using to build your thank you mailing list. After that, all you have to do is add a corresponding field to the first paragraph of your thank you letter so each donor sees a reminder of when and how much they gave in the last year. Theyll thank you later, too, since they wont have to dig through old check registers to total up their total tax deductible donation to your organization from this year.

Whats changed?

Youre probably selective in your communication with donors. Thats smart, you dont want to annoy them. So when you do reach out at the end of the year, tell them whats improved at your organization this year thanks to their donations. If you work in community services, share the number of citizens youve helped. If you work in education, tell them how many more classrooms have air conditioning or iPads. By noting the before and after scenarios, youre helping them understand exactly where their money is going. Dont you love showing people how theyve made a difference? Its inspiring for you and empowering for them, win-win.

Visualize it

If youve got visual proof of the changes that have come about in the last year, share them! Photos can tell stories that words struggle to capture, and its not a bad idea to keep your thank you efforts short while using photos to show, rather than tell, donors about the difference theyve made. If youre worried about space on the page, consider removing your board or officer list. Those people are easy enough to find on the website, and in this case theyre really just names on a page that could instead give donors proof of how their contributions have improved your organization.

What has worked for you? Let us know!

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