Why, thank you!

Why, thank you!

Why, thank you!2

Fundraising | 11 Jul 2012

Sometimes a charity says thank you, and well, you can just tell that they really mean it. Rachel Brown got one such thank you letter last weekend from Kids Company.

It read..

Dear Rachel,

I was so touched by your generous donation of £25. Fundraising has become even harder. I find myself working late into the night seven days a week just trying to generate resources for our kids. So when donations like yours arrive believe me I bounce off the ceiling with delight!

(This is a letter to me, sent from a person. Not from an organisation, but from an individual. It shows passion for the charity and makes me feel that I have really done something extraordinary.)

Your help means so much to all of us who work at Kids Company, because we become a witness to your kindness but also to the positive impact it has on the children’s lives.

(Wow – these are people that are passionate about their cause and will steward and use my money wisely.)

We’ve just opened our exhibition at the Royal Academy, Childhood, so I’m hoping we can encourage more of the public to donate.

(This is timely information –  they must have updated their thank you letter recently.)

One of the girls exhibiting was living on the streets since the age of 12 having run away from home where she was being sexually abused. When she arrived at Kids Company she was so undernourished, looking like a 12-year-old, despite being 17. She hadn’t been to school since she was ten but we found she wrote amazing poetry so we sent her to Goldsmiths University for an interview and they’ve offered her an unconditional place on the creative writing degree course. Before our eyes has emerged a young girl who is glowing and full of hope for the future.

(What a wonderful story. I feel proud to support this charity and want to give more to their work.)

It’s for children like her that your unique support is precious and powerful. Thank you for kindness that touches the heart.

With love and best wishes,

(Not yours sincerely or some other stuffy sign off. I am now part of this charity’s family.)

Camila Batmanghelidjh
Chief Executive

(with hand-signed signature)

So what do you think? Would your organisation’s thank you letter stand up against this? I know that this is a mail merged letter – but it is still brilliant, personal and touching. I want to give again.

Does your thank you letter:

  • Come from a person, not an organisation
  • Demonstrate the passion of your work
  • Make the donor feel that they have genuinely made a difference
  • Include timely information
  • Talk about you and your, not we and our
  • Say thank you more than once
  • Arrive hand-signed
  • Make the donor feel proud to have given

Donors are the most precious resource a charity can have. Just in saying thank you well, this charity has made me feel like a critical part of their mission.

Now we must make all our donors feel the same way.

Rachel Brown is the development manager for Edinburgh's University's Edinburgh Fund and all-round fundraising enthusiast

Clare Richards
Conciliation Resources
16 Jul 2012

Thanks for this: nice to highlight good practice. Kids Company do excellent work in so many areas; it seems their communications reflect the creative hands-on approach they take to their practical work with children. I recently received excellent thank yous/please-donate-again-you-make-a-difference letters from the Equality Trust and Crisis. They definitely make me want to keep up my personal support for their work. As does MSF – they send a regular informative but low-cost 'from the field' newsletter that really does make a large INGO have the 'you help us make a difference' feel of a much more intimate charity. Well thought out genuinely innovative fundraising efforts mean so much more than hollow and obviously agency-generated attempts. Keep up the good work: it's noted and appreciated.

11 Jul 2012

Wow, nice letter. I have a confession to make: I am supporting large charities. Yes, I said it. Not the small ones where my 80 GBP a year average amount of donation would make any sensible difference but the ones where they buy peanuts for it. I support them because I politically identify with particular causes and everytime my bank statement shows direct debit payment to one or cleared check to other I grit my teeth but I know that THOUSANDS of people like me make it - eventually - happen. At some point of history. Maybe.
Even though these charities have Supporter Care Teams, I have never received a thank-you email (I opt out of post to save their costs wherever possible) or anything really. It took me more than 4 emails to finally change my details. And naturlaly I'm too small to be important in their timely updates. But at the end of the day I don't have to support them, it's voluntary sector after all and we are all voluntarily in it.
However, there is a limited amount of patience even the most die-hard supporter has. Expecting that some causes simply deserve money is childish. One day I will find some other cause, or change political option, and less peanuts for you, biggies!
On the other hand, why 'smallies' don't ask their local folk for money is a secret to me. I know as a fact that some trustees (but not all, by all means!) genuinely believe that people should instinctively recognise value of their causes and throw some cash on them. Without any right to transparency and accountability, naturally. Accountability is for losers.
As a person professionally involved in fundraising (but not soliciting donations, yet that is) I dream of the day when I will say 'thank you, without you John would die on the street.' It must be the greatest feeling in the world!


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