As your finely crafted Year-End Giving Appeal is winding down I challenge you to start a new campaign which brings a fresh significance to how you acknowledge your donors and volunteers. Sending year-end giving statements with a simple “thank you” is not really enough. You have a significant opportunity to impact your donors with your gratitude heading into the New Year.
Stick with me here: think of a time you received gratitude and appreciation for something you did. Was it a kind word from a family member or friend? How about appreciation from a boss or manager? How did that feel to you? Gratitude moves us and shifts our emotions in powerful ways which warm our heart. Keep this in mind – how gratitude feels to you – as you consider the most powerful way to convey that feeling to your donors.
Your donors support your organization so you can fulfill your mission and profoundly impact the lives of those you serve. Your organization does not exist without them.
Do your donors understand this critical role they play in your world? More importantly, have you communicated this in a way where the significance of what they do for you can be felt?
Gratitude and thankfulness are a lot like an apology, absent of sincerity they have no worth; however, when done with sincerity they have the power to restore and bring life.
4 Ways to Ensure Sincerity
Below are 4 ways to maximize the sincerity of your gratitude. You may already be following some of these best practices – if so, atta you! If you realize that you want to start incorporating these into your gratitude campaign this year, that is fantastic! Either way, you’ve got what it takes to make this your best year yet. Kick it off by caring well for those who have helped you get to where you are today.
When writing any form of donor communication, using generic greetings like, “Dear Donor” or “Dear Monthly Contributor” is quickest way to shoot yourself in the foot and and lose all sincerity of your words. Considering the significance donors play within a nonprofit, addressing them by their name should always be the standard.
Group Your Donors
It isn’t realistic to send individual personalized thank-yous to each of your supporters; however, if you organize your supporters by type of giving/service you can shape a message of gratitude that is specific to their contribution.
Here are some examples of how you might group your donors and volunteers:
- One-time donors
- Donors by project or campaign
- Monthly donors
- Volunteers by service project or event
With your supporters organized you are ready to craft your message of gratitude. Be specific about how their financial or time commitment has been essential to your success this past year and the type of impact it had in helping fulfill your mission. Share personal stories of those you serve and how their lives were changed by your organization being able to fulfill your mission. Be sure to let your donor know that because of their sacrifice this individual was changed and it could not have been done without them.
Finally, be sure you do not ask for anything in your message of gratitude. Nothing will suck the sincerity out of your message more than a request of money or time. This needs to be purely about your gratitude for what they have done for you and nothing else. Keep your message pure and singular because many will be expecting an ask. Catch them off guard by only saying thank you and affirming their value and how blessed you are to have them along your side.
Year-end giving statements go out every year along with your thanks – that’s a given. However, how you choose to express it this year can be unexpected. Blow your donors away with specificity, sincerity, and gratitude for what they do. Loving your donors and volunteers well is the right thing to do; it makes their choice to continue to give and serve your organization and easy one to make. Best of luck to you all in the New Year!