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Make every thank you count

One of the most powerful terms in any language is Thank You. It shows appreciation on our part and often elicits an automatic You’re Welcome in return. Saying thank you means something. It tells our friends, family, colleagues, associates, and even strangers that we acknowledge their effort and are grateful.

The best thank yous are delivered in person. Unfortunately that’s not always possible. But if you’re involved in fundraising, saying thank you should be one of the most important parts of your donor retention strategy.

We all know that getting that first donation is the biggest challenge. But once a donor has committed to opening their wallet once, the next biggest challenge is to repeat that success.

So what can you do? Well the simplest thing is an email autoresponder. It’s incredibly easy to set up. And can be set to deliver slightly customized messaging through a drip campaign. Unfortunately these emails tend to go straight to the junk email box. So often the thank you never gets to the donor.

That’s why I always recommend a physical thank you delivered through the post office. Why? You know it’s going to arrive at your clients’ address and that they are very likely going to see it.

You can’t say that about email.

Perception of value

Think about the real thank you notes you’ve received over the years. How did they make you feel? A tangible thank you delivered by the local mail carrier has a much higher perceived value. It feels good in your hand.  It sits on your table. And more importantly it’s one of the few pieces of mail that isn’t a bill.

A printed thank you card to a new donor or a donation “anniversary” card sent to an existing one makes them feel appreciated. It also creates a connection that goes well beyond the strictly transactional.

So when it’s time to review your next fundraising campaign, make sure to include a print component or your appreciation may never be known by your donors.

Still not convinced? Send me your physical address and I’ll hand write a thank you note and send it to you just for reading this blog.

About the author

Steve Falk is President of Prime Data. Prime Data provides solutions for data-driven communications including Direct Mail, Email, Variable Data Printing and Dynamic Documents and supporting online initiatives. To find out more about Steve or Prime Data, visit or follow Steve on Twitter@primedatainc.

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