3 reasons saying “Thank you” is more than just good manners

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Donor care. Supporter relationship maintenance. Donor stewardship. Donor acknowledgement. They’re all long-winded phrases representing the same thing: Gratitude.

But sometimes we just don’t express it enough – either in direct response to a contribution or as part of an annual donor communication strategy.

[Tweet “Saying “thank you” is more than just good manners. #DonorCare”]

There are many reasons we should spend more time thanking donors, but here’s the top three:

1.  Gratitude is good donor retention

Saying “thank you” is the simplest and easiest way to improve donor retention.

[Tweet “nearly 3 out of 4 new donors leave and never come back | via @franswaa”]

Roger Craver, a US-based fundraising consultant says charities “have a 60 to 70 percent chance of getting gifts from [existing donors], but a less than 2 percent chance with a new prospect”.

As many as 93% of first-time donors would give again and up to 70% would increase the value of their donation – if charities did a better job saying “thank you”.

2.  Gratitude is good for the bottom line

Did you know that donors contribute more the longer they have been donating to a cause? That is, a repeat donor will contribute more in the long term, than the equivalent number of one-time-only donations.

Adrian Sargeant, Ph.D., Hartsook Chair in Fundraising and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy found that “A 10% increase in donor retention can increase the lifetime value of the donor database by up to 200 percent.”

Not only do repeat donors give more, they also become charity ambassadors and are more likely to attend events and volunteer time and services.

3.  Gratitude is good for you

Recent studies have found that gratitude is good for your mental and physical health. Showing appreciation reduces stress, enhances empathy and improves self-esteem.

The good news is, everybody can be involved in saying “thank you” to your donors. Board members, staff and volunteers can all benefit from spending just a few minutes expressing gratitude. You don’t need to throw a fancy party or send expensive gifts – a hand-written note or brief phone call is all it takes.

[Tweet ““donors appreciate that I’ve taken the time to hand-write a letter” Kathy Prpic, Uni. Waterloo #ArtOfThank you”]

The art of gratitude

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when saying “thank you” to your donors:

  • Share your achievements – remind your donor it couldn’t be done without them.
  • Make it unconditional – don’t ask for another donation.
  • Keep it personal – tailor your acknowledgement to their contribution and loyalty.

And most importantly,

  • Thank your donors for being a good person – not a dollar value.

The Copy Collective is ready to help you craft the perfect acknowledgement for your donors. We have the tools and expertise to assist at every stage, from designing a campaign to writing the perfect letter. If you have any questions or need any help, call Naomi on 0459 348 182 or email nbyers@ or Dominique on 0409 911 891 or email dantarakis@