We’ve Only Just Begun…

March 7, 2014

carpentersOn March 7 last year, many of us were exhausted and elated at the same time, overwhelmed by the 17,625 online gifts made in that short but lively 36-hour period just before. The Giving Challenge leaderboard displayed $2.78 million in donations and foundation support for 287 participating nonprofits.

The big event was over to some, but the staff and board members who took full advantage of the Challenge may have been humming one of the best post-event songs of all time, “We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters.

There is no doubt that the Giving Challenge excitement happens during the marathon online fundraising event itself, as the Leaderboard updates gifts and giving totals every 60 seconds, but the magic happens afterwards.

Enterprising organizations will use the opportunity to connect and build stronger relationships with their donors.

In your pre-Giving Challenge planning, don’t forget to strategize your gratitude. A prompt and heartfelt thank you sent to each of the donors who chooses to support you—one organization among 400 participating nonprofits—is the most important aspect of a successful campaign.

What should you plan to do in your post-Giving Challenge Gratitude Fest?

Penelope Burke developed a fabulous list of 20 things that make a thank you letter superior. Here are some of them:

  • A real letter, handwritten if possible
  • Personally addressed
  • Personal salutation (no “dear friend”)
  • Personally signed by someone from the highest ranks of the organization
  • Makes specific reference to the intended use of funds
  • Includes contact info for a staff person the donor can contact at any time
  • Does not ask for another gift or continue to “sell”
  • Acknowledges the donor’s past giving
  • Communicates gratitude and inner warmth
  • Grabs the reader’s attention in the opening sentence
  • No more than two short paragraphs long
  • Received by the donor promptly

Always consider acknowledgement of the generous donors, funders and businesses who support you as your number one priority.

Read Penelope’s full post, “Donor-Centered Thank You Letters,” here.

Enjoy your weekend, and thank YOU for the good work you are doing.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


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