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The Thank You Note......do we really need to talk about this?

As a fundraiser and relationship builder I have always taught my teams that thank you notes go out immediately! Thank you notes are printed on letter head, the Mr/Mrs/Ms is striked out and the first name hand written in and then a simple note at the bottom thanking the donor for their ongoing passion for our mission, isn't that what everyone does? NOPE! Recently I received a thank you note on a piece of white printer paper and the signatures were cursive type, I was disappointed that the non-profit did not understand how to thank a donor. So, being a professional fundraiser and caring about the organization I donated to, I called and spoke to the person that was in charge of facilitating thank you notes. He was younger, new to fundraising and his response was "XYZ told me to print them and mail", I asked, what about the letterhead? He responded "nobody ever told me I needed to use letterhead". My mouth dropped. I was half shocked that nobody told him to use letterhead and half shocked he didn't have the wherewithal to ask or inquire. Instead of escalating the situation I explained to this new upcoming non-profit staff member the fundraising 101 on thank you notes. He was not taught, mentored or coached. It was assumed that he knew. As professionals it is our job to pay attention to every detail in our departments. Can you imagine how many donors received the same blank thank you note I did? The organization had been sending out thank you notes on blank paper for months! Teach, educate and mentor your teams that the thank you note is one of the most important steps in our donor retention and stewardship process! When you send out a thank you note, let's make sure it is the best thank you note our donors receive!


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