I recently got some unusual thank-yous from local charities. This is one way for nonprofits to really stand out in the minds and hearts of their donors, but many just don’t take the opportunity.
I’ve gotten the impression over the years that in most fundraising departments, special expressions of thanks are reserved for very large donors. The rest of us never get anything but a form letter or an email. Sadly, even though I used to write these, I rarely read them. I treat them like receipts, which is in fact what they legally are.
I’m a member of the Caritas Society of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, a former employer and a favorite cause of mine. They recently completed their largest annual fundraising campaign. I’d been at the same giving level for years and intended to stay there — until I realized I could spare more money this year and that my increased funds would be doubled through a challenge grant from the Sobrato Family Foundation.
I was delighted when someone from Catholic Charities called to personally thank me for responding to that challenge. And guess what? After I got the phone call about the increased pledge, I started to think I might want to stay at the higher level next year or maybe even increase my level of giving yet again.
I recently posted a blog about nonprofit called Sunday Friends, and told an amazing story of the generosity of one of their young clients. I’m actually a consultant to Sunday Friends, not a donor. But a few weeks ago I received six beautiful letters like the one below. (This one was dictated to a volunteer.)
Sunday Friends sends notes like these to everyone who helps them in any way. It is an integral part of their mission and their organizational culture.
Being acknowledged in a personal way means more to me than seeing my name in an annual report. I’m not knocking annual reports—I write them for a living, too—but donors need to feel special.
Today, I feel special and really good about giving.
P.S. Here is a bonus article from Joanne Fritz, my favorite nonprofit sector blogger, with some great thoughts about thank yous.