This one thing for fundraising success in 2018: say thank you


For much of November and December, I filled your blog box with reminders of “one more thing for year-end fundraising success.” If any of my suggestions helped you raise more money, praise God. I look forward to hearing shouts of thanksgiving and glowing reports of the generosity of God’s people to the good causes and essential ministries with which Generous Matters readers serve.

In fact, saying thank you should be the first thing on your to-do list at the beginning of the new year.

If in these early days back to work you’ve rushed on to other things without taking time to thank the donors who included your organization in their year-end giving, drop what you’re doing. Right now.

Absolutely NOTHING is as important to this year’s fundraising success as a sincere, winsome, and donor-centered thank you to the good folks who gave to your organization last year.

For a gorgeous example of the genre, check out the message I received this morning from MAP International’s president Steve Sterling. (In the spirit of transparency, I served on the MAP board for 10 years and on the search committee that brought Steve to MAP.)

Here are three things to notice about Steve’s message:

The hero of the message is the donor. The words “you” or “your” show up 11 times in the text — e.g. “your heart,” “your compassion,” “because of you,” “because you made it possible,” “because of your generous support.”

The message is information rich without overwhelming the reader. Expert use of bulleted text, a few impressive numbers, and references to MAP’s involvement in places and events ripped from this past year’s headlines highlight MAP’s good work without making it all about MAP.

There’s a call to action for the new year. Actually, two calls. First, donors are asked to “continue to pray for those we serve and that more will open their hearts to compassion in 2018.” The reader is also invited to enjoy the MAP International Health and Hope Blog. Do you notice what’s not included? Answer: There’s not an explicit ask for another gift. This is a true thank you.

From start to finish, the message from MAP is written with donors’ hearts in mind. And if mine is the norm, a lot of hearts have grown more generous toward God (and likely toward MAP) because of reading this timely and well-crafted thank you.

I’m eager for other examples of exemplary thank you messages, including yours. Shoot yours my way and I’ll pass it along, complete with a shout out here at Generous Matters.

For more on the importance of a sincere thank you, see:

Put the focus on thank you, please.

Tips for perfecting your thank you

What part of thank you don’t you understand?



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