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[Word Wise] The Most Important Piece You’ll Send All Year
November 19, 2012

Word Wise Newsletter

Helping You and Your Organization Get Powerful Results With Words

Volume 8, Number 3 ... ISSN: 1933-9690

Dear fellow writers and strategists,

Welcome back to Word Wise! Once or twice a month, we’ll send you this newsletter packed with practical and useful information you can use in copywriting for your small business or nonprofit – whether you’re a marketing professional, nonprofit leader, or copywriting newbie.

Check Out Our Updated Website – and "Like" us on Facebook!

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And join the conversation – get the latest trends and more tips for writing for small businesses and nonprofits when you go to Nonprofit Copywriter on Facebook and click "Like."

Feature: The Most Important Piece You’ll Send All Year

After all the strategic planning, appeal-writing, follow up, multi-channel campaigns ... a prospect responds with a tangible gift! That’s proof that he embraces your cause and the work that you do.

But here is where an overwhelming number of nonprofit organizations drop the ball. A huge number do not have an effective donor acknowledgement strategy.

Big mistake. Don't be one of them.

What you need to know about donor acknowledgement

Thank yous (also called gift receipts, donation acknowledgements and statement letters in fundraising-speak) are the most important pieces your organization sends out. Gratitude paves the way for a long- term partnership.

Plus, a timely, heartfelt thank you demonstrates class and organization. People never get tired of being appreciated. Do you? But I digress.

A donor requires kid-glove handling. You’re building a relationship with someone who has bought in (literally) to your organization. You want to do all you can to cultivate this relationship into a long-term partnership. That partnership begins with your thank you letter.

Use these tips to make sure your most important piece is the best it can be.

  • Timing. Send it soon – within 72 hours of receiving a gift.
  • Length. Keep it short (about 3-4 brief paragraphs, no more.)
  • Specificity. Cite the specific amount given. This way your donors can use your letter for income tax purposes. You can also tie their gift to its use. (“Thank you so much for your gift of $100, which we have put to use right away in building a new well for the Ethiopian village of …”)
  • Story. Share an anecdote about impacted lives. People love hearing about people. Tell readers about an actual life they’re helping to change. While you’re at it, educate them about your cause by weaving in your mission or some powerful statistics that reinforce the need. This reminds them why they gave in the first place and helps prevent “Giver’s Remorse.”
  • Closing. Hand sign the letter if possible. And include a P.S.
Get all the details about the most important piece you’ll write all year here

Fun (and Helpful) Nonprofit Tips and Trends

Thank You, America!

Charitable giving increased in the U.S. in 2011 and is on track to be even higher in 2012.

  • Total giving to charitable organizations was $298.42 billion in 2011 (about 2% of GDP), an increase of 4% from 2010.
  • As in previous years, the majority of that giving came from individuals, who gave $217.79 billion (73%) representing a 3.9% increase over 2010.
Data courtesy of Charity Navigator

More donor acknowledgement copywriting tips …

What Your Appeal Letter Must Have 3 Things Your Thank You Must Do Donor Thank-You: the Simplest Way to Friendraise 5 Deadly Nonprofit Fundraising Mistakes

Finally … A Wise Word

"Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity. It must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all."

William Faulkner (1897-1962)
American writer and Nobel laureate

That’s it for now. See you next time!

Until then, happy writing!

Kathy with Nonprofit Copywriter
Email me with your comments and questions!

P.S. Invite friends and colleagues to subscribe to Word Wise. Forward this issue or send them a link to Nonprofit Copywriter where they can sign up.

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