When I ask people what they think most charities and churches do when someone gives for the first time, they are always floored. Maybe you will be too? Ready?
NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
OMG! How can you GIVE your treasure to an organization for the first time and NOT elicit a personal response?
I am not talking about the automated reply in your email that says "thanks" after making an online gift. That is acknowledgment. I am talking about a person taking the time to actually say "Thank you.”
How can you GIVE your money to an organization for the first time and NOT elicit a personal response?
For years at my church, every time someone gave for the first time, I sent them a personal card welcoming them to our giving community, said thanks, and sometimes gave them my cell number to call if they wanted to connect.
I always sent a card, and sometimes I would call.
I loved it when those same folks gave their children money to put in the offering envelope, and they would scratch their name on it. You could almost always tell it was a child by the handwriting and gift amount.
I loved handcrafting the note to "Mr." or "Miss'' on the envelope. You could always count on those parents finding me at the next church service and telling me the thank-you note's effect on their children (often with moist eyes). "Before we get to church," they would say, "our kid is bugging us about giving in the offering."
Sometimes I would get a listing of all the faithful givers for years, send them a note, and thank them for their consistency and commitment to our mission.
No one ever got mad because I said: "thank you."
No one ever questioned my motives when I said: "thank you."
Just say thank you.
What did the 5 minutes it took to write that note cost me? Consider if the gift was $5. THAT TRANSLATES TO $60 PER HOUR. Mentally calculating my supposed pay rate always helped me do the job cheerfully.
What about that $100 gift? At $100 for 5 minutes, that is $1200 PER HOUR.
What about that $1,000 gift? THAT IS A $12,000 PER HOUR RATE OF PAY. Um...who gets to work for those kinds of returns?
OMG! WHY DO WE NOT TAKE THE TIME TO SAY THANK YOU FOR THE GIFTS WE RECEIVE?
HOW MUCH MONEY WOULD A PERSON HAVE TO GIVE BEFORE WE PICK UP THE PEN OR PHONE AND PERSONALLY SAY THANK YOU?
I often give initial gifts to organizations and churches, then wait for the welcoming note or call. Again and again, I am disappointed when I get no response. Don't they realize that there is more where that came from?
Does it matter the size of the gift? NO, NO, NO, ONE THOUSAND TIMES NO!
ALWAYS give a personal thanks when your organization receives a gift from a donor for the first time. ALWAYS thank them. Use it as your opportunity to get to know them. See if you can determine their motivation.
They didn't give for that reason, but a "thank you" sure helps them give more often (and more significant gifts)!
Churches need to say "thank you."
Pastors need to say "thank you."
Nonprofits need to say "thank you."
MGOs need to say "thank you."
Directors need to say "thank you.”
ALWAYS give a personal thanks when your organization receives a gift from a donor for the first time.
Need more money for your organization? Start saying a personal "thank you" regularly and consistently, especially for first-time donors.
I believe nonprofits are led by 'angels' who often know little about fundraising. Because of that, I have created a cheat sheet with copies and examples of some great thank-you's.