5 Tips for Saying Thank You
I've said it time and time again, "Remember to thank your donors!" I know this seems obvious, but I'm not trying to insult your intelligence. I really believe that thanking your donors is as important as the donation itself, especially when it comes to donor retention. Saying "thank you" can be the simplest way to maintain a donor's interest and is the first step in asking them to donate again. Here are some tips and tools for thanking your donors.
- Be Immediate. The minute you know a person has made a contribution, you should send them a note of thanks. This can absolutely be informal - a text message, a shout out on social media, a quick phone call - as long as it's timely. It will be comforting for your donors to know that the donation was received and that you're aware of it, and they'll appreciate that you followed up with them so quickly.
- Make it personal. In addition to thanking your donors immediately, make sure to also send them a personalized thank you note (preferably handwritten). This can be sent at a later date, once you've had some time to sit down and write something personal and meaningful. If you know the person, make sure that is apparent in your note. If someone else in the organization knows the donor personally, then you should have them write something instead of or in addition to your own message.
- Ask for help. There's no shame in asking your co-workers, volunteers, or board members to help you send out your thank you notes. It can be a daunting task, so you should absolutely use the resources around you to distribute your them. This will hopefully speed up the process for you and ensure a speedier delivery to your donors.
- Communicate how the funds were used. Your donors will feel comfort in knowing how you used their donations for your art. If you can emphasize the benefit the gift had for your art and the community you serve, this communication also gives your donors the feeling of making a difference. When you make a gift tangible, that donor can actually see his/her contribution being put to use, giving him/her the feeling of inclusion. This inclusion often instills pride in your donor and could inspire another donation.
- Thank them again. If you choose to contact this donor again in the future, make sure to preface your solicitation with another thank you for donating the first (or second, or third) time. By doing this, you're letting them know that you still haven't forgotten about their previous donation and that you still appreciate it.
Overall, make sure all of your donors feel important in helping you reach your goals and serve your audience. The best strategy for donor retention is to make sure your donors know that they are part of something great so that they feel like they're making a difference in someone's life. I know it's sentimental, but ultimately that is the human element that makes people want to donate in the first place.