Going Above & Beyond with Handwritten Thank-Yous

Thank-you notes may seem old fashioned in today’s technology-filled world, but I would argue that the personal touch serves as a bright contrast to popular direct mail initiatives. Handwritten thank-yous are novel. Whenever I receive something handwritten, I can testify that I am more likely to read it. In fact, I can’t help but get that warm and fuzzy feeling – AKA gratitude.

As a busy nonprofit professional, you may be thinking – “how can I possibly find the time to write thank-you notes?” Below are a few tips you can use to help you implement a thank-you note program at your organization:

  1. Identify your targets. Ask your DBA to set up a quick report that you can run on a regular basis to identify your donors from the previous day or week. This report can include fund names as well as any gift types. You can also choose to exclude criteria such as matching gifts, soft credits, cash only, etc. For greater ease, place this information on a Raiser’s Edge dashboard panel.
  2. Share the love. Segment your donors based on giving amount and assign different staff members to tackle the different segments. Donors beneath a certain threshold may receive a thank-you note from the Annual Giving Director or a Gift Officer, while higher-level donors may receive one from your CEO.
  3. Focus. Nonprofit professionals are constantly pushed and pulled in different directions. This can make the simplest task seem daunting. Try setting aside as little as 15 minutes each day to focus on thank-you notes. With your list already prepared and segmented, you’ll be amazed at how many you can knock out.
  4. Make it easy. Come up with a few different message templates to use depending on your relationship with the donor or the fund they gave to. Your message can be short and sweet as long as it expresses your gratitude, demonstrates impact, and includes a meaningful closure. Example: “Thank you for your gift to the Hunger Fund. Your gift of $50 positively impacts our community by feeding 500 families in our area. We truly appreciate your gift and hope to see you at our annual gala in the spring.”
  5. Make it fun. Writing thank-you notes doesn’t have to be mundane. This is where you can get creative – practice your penmanship, use special stamps, or pull out your favorite stationary (as long as it accurately and professionally conveys your organization’s brand, of course).

With a little planning and preparation, these quick and easy tips will allow you to thank your donors in a memorable way. Today, millions of nonprofits are competing for donor dollars, so take that extra step to make your gratitude known!



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