Donor management systems are a great way to streamline your development office processes and procedures. Generating gift acknowledgments is a great example. The ability to merge gift and demographic information into an email template or word processing document means your thank-yous are accurate and timely and on the way to your donors very soon after a gift arrives.
But do your thank you letters look like cookie-cutter notes? Or form letters? Is there anything that makes your acknowledgment feel unique and special?
Here are a couple of examples of creative ways that our customers have expressed appreciation in fun and novel ways:
- A nonprofit that serves families of ill children created postcards that displayed kids artwork and adorable photos. They primarily served as thank you notes for in-kind donations but also wound up having long-term value. Volunteers would hand-write notes in appreciation on the back, and the cards were then sent out in the mail to the donor. It was well-known that those postcards were often pinned to refrigerators in homes or bulletin boards in corporate lunch rooms, so they did double-duty as ongoing promotional pieces as well.
- Corporate donors to a nonprofit work center might well have seen their name in a ‘moving’ display of appreciation. When local companies made donations of a certain size, a thank-you message would appear in scrolling LED on the organization’s boulevard sign, visible to all who drove by the facility. As an added touch, a photo of the sign was taken and sent along with an actual acknowledgment letter to the donor to let them know that the appreciation was shared with the whole community.
- A mission group from a local church asked the youth recipients of sponsorship gifts to create hand-written thank you letters while taking a break from their mission work. The letters would be addressed to the individual donor, written by the young missionary and describing the things they had accomplished that day. This process not only expressed appreciation, but also gave the donors a very real picture of their gift ‘at work’ and helped them know first-hand how their support was making a difference.
Knowing our customers, and the very special kind of people who are drawn to nonprofit work, it’s likely that you have some pretty amazing examples and ideas to share with other blog readers. Please do!