Perhaps like me, you were taught as a child how to write thank you letters. Every birthday or holiday, my mom had me hand write thank you notes for gifts. And she taught me the same formula you’ve probably heard before.
“Thank you for [item]. I’ll use it for [insert something specific to show how it’s helpful]. Thank you so much.”
But when it comes to thanking your donors, forget everything you know or have been taught. That formula, and any other way you grew up writing thank you notes, won’t work here.
Because instead of just thanking them, you need to validate them. Show them their decision to give money to your organization was the right choice. It’s something they should feel good about because of all the ways it is helping accomplish the mission you and your donors share. Let them know how their gift is making a difference. This isn’t just doing what you’re supposed to do by sending a thank you note. It’s a chance to build or deepen a relationship with a donor.
To be clear: Thanking them isn’t bad, it’s just the bare minimum.
No one ever gave a second gift because you said “thank you”. But they give again because they feel good knowing their gift mattered—to you, and the people you’re helping.
So, do you thank your donors or do you validate them?
If you’ve only thanked them, start validating them and enjoy the results!