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Joanne Fritz

Thanking Online Donors With Better Emails

By April 1, 2012

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Saying thank you to a donor is so important.

I missed Lisa Sargent's webinar for Network for Good last month. Luckily, Lisa sent the link to her slide deck in her recent newsletter.

The webinar was all about how to thank donors by email when they give online. And Lisa's presentation is the most thorough dissection of the email thanking process that I've seen.

Some charities have just flipped off their email thank yous as though they really aren't that important. And some charities have been at sea, wanting to do the right thing but just not sure what that might be.

If your organization is in either of those categories, then make sure you look at Lisa's slides. They are self-explanatory and well worth your time.

Lisa boils the fundamentals down to these simple actions:

  • Your "From" line should state clearly who you are. Nothing cryptic here. State your org's name.
  • Your "Subject" line should tell the donor what this email is about, in 45 characters or less.
  • Personalize the salutation, as in "Dear Ms Fritz." Always attentive to detail, Lisa points out that a comma after the salutation is better than a colon...friendlier, less business like.
  • Make the opening lines as engaging as possible...maybe a story or exactly what the donation will accomplish.
  • Give contact information so the donor can find out more or contact a real person.
  • Tell the donor when he or she will hear from your organization next. A newsletter perhaps?
  • Have someone important sign the email...to show how valuable and appreciated the donor is to your charity. Including a photo of that person is a great touch.
  • Link to something that the donor can interact with right now -- a video, your website, your Facebook page.
  • Include a P.S.--postscripts have been drilled into fundraisers for direct mail appeals, so don't leave it out now. People do and will read it. Provide more thanks, an invitation to do something more, or link to a useful resource.

It's all simple and doable. Thanks to Lisa for developing a framework that any charity can build on.

Go look at How to Write Thank-You Emails That Inspire for more ideas, examples, and a perfect homework assignment.

More About Thanking Donors

Photo: Getty Images

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